Happy Easter! Yes, today is Easter Sunday. Spring is here. We celebrate nature returned to life after a long dark winter. This is a time of physical rebirth that fills us with hope and optimism. It’s a time for planting gardens, cleaning house and just generally starting over.
But today is not just (or even principally) about celebrating spring. Today’s focus is Yeshua returned to life after the tragic events of his arrest, rigged trials, torture, and execution. This is a time to celebrate spiritual rebirth and the fact that a new transformed life is possible not only for Yeshua of Nazareth, but for all of us as individuals, and as members of communities and nations.
Easter promises that all of us can enter God’s sphere and live new lives there as though we believed Yeshua’s words about treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves.
Resurrection in that sense means overcoming our fears of death. As Americans supposedly living in the “home of the brave,” we appear to be an especially timorous people. So we arm ourselves to the teeth and pass “Stand Your Ground” laws allowing us to shoot one another if we feel threatened by them. And these days we seem to be threatened by everyone – especially if they’re different in color, nationality, religion (especially Muslim), or sexual orientation. Truth be told: our lack of bravery borders on shameful cowardice.
In foreign policy our monumental American terror in the face of death has brought our “leaders” to implement a policy of remotely controlled death squads (drones). This means that from the comfort of air-conditioned “theaters” our brave drone “pilots” prowl about the world looking for suspected terrorists and “signature” targets. They patrol Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and who knows where else looking for impoverished young men who meet the target profile. The victims are young, poor, and probably Muslim. They are carrying the very weapons we claim the right to bear; they are associates of or nearby others merely suspected of being terrorists.
So we bomb them – and any others who happen to be at hand including women, young children, the elderly and babies. We classify the casualties as “collateral damage.” Better that they die, we think, than that we endure the remote possibility of someday being attacked and deprived of life.
All of that seems terribly out-of-sync with the Christian faith 70-75% of us claim as our own. Yeshua had no fear of death. Or rather, he overcame his fear and endured torture and death on behalf of others. Saving his own life in favor of sacrificing others was not Yeshua’s Way. Quite the opposite.
Imagine if 70-75% of U.S. citizens refused to fight our unending wars simply because we claim to follow Yeshua’s Way. Imagine if we called upon our faith to demand that President Obama and CIA chief John Brennan stop the cowardly drone death squads. A faith like that would be worth embracing; it would make a difference.
In the film clip at the top of this post, religious leaders use the occasion of Easter to express such faith. Their words contrast sharply with the cowardly justifications fearfully mouthed by Obama and Brennan also centralized in the clip. As you watch our officials speak, see them as the fearful, timorous, cowardly bullies their words attempt to disguise.
How might we as believers add our voices to the call of our true leaders in this Easter invitation to rise with Yeshua to a new truly transformed way of life?