Easter isn’t about Easter bunnies – or even about going to church in Easter bonnets. The real message of Easter speaks powerfully to everyone, whatever their religious belief or unbelief.
Easter got started when, after the revolutionary preacher Jesus was executed by the forces of empire, some of his disciples had powerful experiences that convinced them that he had beaten death and was still present with them – and that Jesus’s victory over death was the start of a new world in which all oppression and injustice would be defeated. Some might argue that those experiences were fantasy or hallucination – but what those disciples then did was certainly no hallucination: they went on to build a movement, especially among the poor and oppressed, that shook the Roman Empire to the point that its rulers ultimately felt compelled to take it over and co-opt it. Yet even through all the centuries that ruling classes have tried to suppress the revolutionary element of the Easter message, people’s forces have time and again reclaimed it. Just look at the peasants’ revolts in medieval Europe, liberation theology in Latin America, and Martin Luther King and the civil rights and other people’s movements in our own country.
People of any faith or no faith should look beyond the bunnies and eggs and flowers to that original revolutionary Easter message: another world is not only possible – it’s already on its way. Easter should spur us on to the struggle to bring that new world to birth.