Happy Easter Everyone. Once again, Christians around the world celebrate the return of Christ from the grave and how death could not be beaten by God’s Son.
However, I feel I must ask: Is it really death that Christ beat three days after being nailed to the cross?
I feel death unfairly gets demonized in Christianity. As if it is our real enemy in life. And that when Christ came to our world, he came to defeat death. I do not believe this is the reason Christ came to our world and I certainly do not believe death is our enemy.
Death is a part of life. An unfortunate part of life. But one that is a part of our creations. We Christians remember that fact every year on Ash Wednesday, to remember that we come from the dust and to dust, we shall return. We are fragile, finite beings, continuously changing and growing till we take our last breathes.
I understand though, why many fear death and why many view death as the enemy. I see it every week at the hospital. I’m called to every death that occurs, to see the family grieving their loss and beginning the next steps of understanding how the relationship has changed with the person in the hospital bed. The pain we feel from losing someone we love dear is unbearable.
We all know that our lives will eventually end. But death is not our enemy.
The real enemy, the one I believe Jesus really defeated on the cross…was injustice and unbearable suffering.
We must remember the reason why Jesus was killed on the cross in the first place. His death was plotted out and because of that, Jesus death can be classified as a murder. Jesus had not committed any crimes nor had he caused another person harm. He showed compassion, care, wisdom, and love to those he met in his ministry. Jesus was a good man. And yet he was killed, at the age of 33, simply because he spoke out against the injustices that were occurring in his communities.
It was injustice that killed Jesus. It was suffering that ended Jesus life. In the end, it was death that at last granted Jesus peace from the pain that he had to endure those final moments.
But as we know, Jesus does return. Three days after his murder, he returns to his disciples and shows the world that he is indeed the victor. But not the victor of death. He was the victor of injustice.
The lesson I choose to take away from Easter, the lesson that we receive from Christ’s resurrection, is that injustice does not have the final say. Discrimination does not have the final say. Unbearable suffering does not have the final say.
And for that, I do celebrate this day.
But let us be mindful in how we celebrate this victory. Because even though Jesus’ death was not in vain, how many others do we know who face injustice in our communities, in our societies?
Where else is the image of Christ, hanging on the cross, being the victim of injustice located before us?
We are all made in the image of God and if indeed Christ is God’s son, then we can assume that we are made in Christ’s image; which means…there are those in our world suffering from their own crosses, unfairly treated and being harmed simply for who they are.
And we do not need to look far to find these crosses:
How about the families on the Mexican border, being separated from each other because they are seeking a better life?
How about in Louisiana, where three African American churches were burned?
How about for our LGBTQ neighbors who constantly face discrimination and constant abuse from the federal and local governments all the time?
How about those who face homelessness and are unable to receive any support from the more economically secure?
We are more aware of the crosses that people suffer upon every day than we realize. And while we are reminded, through Jesus, that injustice and suffering does not have the final say, the choice is up to all of us in how we are going to make sure injustice does not have the final say.
Jesus didn’t just come back to give the world hope that our suffering would not be our end. He came to the disciples, to pass on all that he taught, all his lessons for hope, peace, and love so that all those who follow Christ may continue to fight the true enemy that haunts our lives.
We are all very comfortable only celebrating Easter with egg hunts, worshiping at church, and family gatherings. But let us not end the celebrations on Easter. In fact, let the celebrations continue in the days ahead. However, let us also transform our celebrations by inviting change into our communities. By standing up and with those who live on the margins. By letting those who have been silenced speak their voice. By inviting the ones in pain into our church doors and walk out with them to see the different faces of God we sometimes miss.
Jesus took down one cross and has now empowered us to take down the crosses in our lives today.
I offer this Easter reflection to you. And hope God speaks to you through the words I have written.
May God’s Ruah and Peace Always be with You.