13 April 2009

Easter in a broken world

By Katy Moore, Inquirer, and Senior at Union Theological Seminary in New York

It is Easter, and my heart is heavy. Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern.

Last year, Easter ’08, I was deeply immersed in a Christology seminar with Dr. James Cone, looking at the history of thought about Jesus through the lens of “the cross and the lynching tree,” Cone’s forthcoming book. It was a brilliant class, and it was a whole semester of Lent. I could not feel Easter resurrection while I wrote papers about spousal abuse condoned by pastors, looked at souvenir photographs of bodies hanging from trees, or contemplated the meaning of the cross in my own life. Last year I had a hard time with Easter in the face of all the violence that still happens in our world.

Today, my soul aches because I am alone: about a month ago my partner started a new job in Pennsylvania, and I am still in New York for 6 more weeks. I spent my Easter saying goodbye and driving away, back to a city that does not feel like home anymore. How do I celebrate resurrection when my own life feels so broken?

I am thinking, instead, of Good Friday. Of all the people who had waited and watched for a Messiah, a savior – an anointed king who would come with guns blazing and free them from Rome and from oppression – and instead, got more death. How let down they must have felt! “We thought he came to save us, but we were wrong. He’s dead too, like all the others.”

And even after Easter, people still died. People died because of tyranny, people died fighting one another, people died for talking about Jesus. The Kingdom (or kin-dom) of God that Jesus spoke of did not magically happen on the first Easter, and it still hasn’t happened in the way that we want and need God’s reality to be our reality.

In the midst of so much that is still wrong with the world, how do we proclaim life? What does Easter mean when it is celebrated in churches torn apart over the worth of their members?

I pause and watch my cursor blink, waiting expectantly, as I grasp for an answer.

Then as now, Easter does not proclaim that God has already “won,” that the kin-dom is already a reality on earth. We know, with flesh and blood and with heart and soul, that this world of injustice and violence and oppression is not God’s way. Jesus’ work, which must be our work also, is not yet finished.

What Easter does promise is that this is not the end. Jesus did die, and more will still die, but their work and their spirits do not end there. As we carry on their message, they live in our hope for a better reality. The way of the world right now may be injustice and death, but it will not be that way forever.

God’s realm is coming, and we can catch glimpses of it in our lives together. After Easter, we know that this time of struggle will end in justice.

At Easter, our sometimes rocky and twisting paths may not be made any easier. But each year, we are reminded to look up into the distance and see that there is something shining and beautiful ahead.

1 comment:

Uoma said...

Wow. This really spoke to me. I've been struggling to find meaning in Christianity and have been having trouble. Just the word kin-dom gives me a whole different perspective on Jesus' message and the meaning of Easter. Well done!