Happy Easter: a new world is coming

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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.

Image: vanherdehaage // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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  • I would not normally respond to comments on my own article, but in this case I believe I must. The article is addressed to "people of any faith or no faith" and affirms what all such people might learn from the Easter message; it is not intended to deny, and it does not on any reasonable reading deny, that there is more to the meaning of Easter than I express here. As a Christian, of course I believe that Easter involves resurrection, the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and more—but a political publication such as this is not an appropriate place for evangelism or theological expositions.
    The quotation from Pope Benedict brought by Mr. Schwalm is apt and expresses a profound truth. Politics cannot be "redemptive" in the sense Christians understand that term. When politicians of any stripe—left, right, or center—act as if it can, they usually do create havoc. But that doesn't mean that politics cannot contribute to a better life for people—which is something that Christians and all people of good will need to be concerned about. In the biblical view of things, preaching about the Kingdom of God doesn't let us off the hook from seeing that the hungry are fed and that justice is done here and now.
    I would add that communists do not consider themselves obliged to condone all the wrongs and crimes committed in the name of communism, any more than Christians are obliged to condone those done in the name of Christianity. The Communist Party USA certainly does not aim to "slaughter those that [do] not conform to the Marxist ideal"—we aim to stop the slaughter, not promote it.

    Posted by Hank Millstein, 04/24/2011 12:26pm (3 years ago)

  • That logic goes directly from A to Z and misses all the points in between.

    Posted by jrm, 04/23/2011 12:02pm (3 years ago)

  • Actually, Easter started in ancient times with the pagans, most notably the worship of Ishtar by the Babylonians around 600-550 BC. What was started with the 'hallucinations' and 'fantasys' of Jesus's followers is what we call Christianity. The two did not merge until the Roman Empire adopted Christianity and, to make it more palatable to the pagan population, the Passover tradition was combined with the Spring equinox celebration involving Ishtar.

    I'm not sure that the Roman adoption of Christianity can be characterized as a 'revolution'. For hundreds of years, Christianity was only one in Rome's pantheon. And of course Christians for many years were brutally persecuted in Rome. When the Emporer Constantine became a Christian, most persecution stopped and Christianity became more accepted but it took many years for paganism to go out of fashion and for Christianity to become dominant.

    I agree that a new world is on the horizon. With the political instability in the middle east and the economic instability around the globe, times are ripe for massive change. It remains to be seen if that change will lead us to a standard of living akin to that in socialist Venezuela, communist Cuba or back to the prosperous, free, Christian nation our forefathers fought and died for; a nation where each man creates his own destiny, a nation unique on the planet with individual freedom and opportunity. A country where a black man is elected President when just 150 years ago, slavery was a common practice - a truly great nation.

    Posted by Angel Berrenhaufer, 04/22/2011 2:09pm (3 years ago)

  • Greetings, on this Good Friday in which our most holy sacrifice, The Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the Living God, delivered himself up of his own accord to be our sacrificial lamb. He came into this world for this; to spread the Good News of redemption, and to die and rise again, the first of the reborn. His world is not of our world as He told Pilate. That world, is coming, but not a communist paradise, but that perfect eternity where we will be with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His words were not of marxist uprising like some Judean Che, but that of forgiveness and love. He did not slaughter those that did not conform to the Marxist ideal like, Mao, Stalin, Che and others of that ilk. He prayed for his enemies, and turned the other cheek. He told his followers look not to this world but to his Father's kingdom, "...render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and render unto God what is God's." I will pray for you sir. Be not concerned with the folly of this finite world, but look to the everlasting world of the New Jerusalem. Happy Easter! He is risen!

    "Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic."
    --Pope Benedict XVI

    Posted by Matthew Schwalm, 04/22/2011 2:00pm (3 years ago)

  • "....and that Jesus's victory over death was the start of a new world in which all oppression and injustice would be defeated."

    Wrong, it was the Perfect Sinless One who laid down His life for me, and for you, for Eternal Salvation.

    Posted by Batman, 04/21/2011 6:33pm (3 years ago)

  • Heartwarming indeed. Just imagine a world in which the message of the Savior is distorted to equate to the repression and death of those who do not believe in the ultimate in salvation---not a through a personal relationship with God but through worship of the state and its bureaucracy! Amazing!

    Posted by Joe Betancourt, 04/21/2011 5:26pm (3 years ago)

  • This is the most distorted view of Easter I have ever read. How can you equate your movement with Easter when you don't even recognize the true meaning and importance of Easter...the resurrection of Jesus, forgiveness of sins, and eternity in heaven for those who believe. Your revolutionary and humanistic take on Easter pales in comparison.

    Posted by W. Warner, 04/21/2011 1:19am (3 years ago)

  • Great article. Succinct and true. Thanks, Henry!

    Posted by Tim Yeager, 04/20/2011 11:03pm (3 years ago)

  • Wow, simply beautiful. Just heart warming.

    Posted by Holly Golightly, 04/20/2011 7:48pm (3 years ago)

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