Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Monday

I'm wondering this morning, Bush, what my father's Easter Sunday sermon might have been, had he survived into this twenty-first century of ours. The Good Friday sermon would have been the one about how Christ died for our sins--a story I don't much believe in any more. I tend to see "sin" more in terms of harming oneself and others than offending some god's arbitrary laws.

The Easter Sunday message, though, would have been one of hope. A man of serious social and political responsibility, my father would surely have looked at the world around him to tried to discern where hope might lie in the almighty mess we have managed to make of it: a world where war and civil strife, and genocide, famine and disease, and corporate and personal greed, and violence, and religious intolerance, and mistrust of other peoples have become the norm, and acts of genuine selflessness and love seem desperately few and far between.

I think my father might have talked about those acts in his Easter Sunday sermon, Bush. He might have talked about the actions of organizations like Doctors Without Borders, for example, who bring the blessings of medicine to places ravaged by disease; about those who take seriously Christ's injunction to feed the hungry and put their own well-being and their lives on the line to bring food to the neediest of this planet. I think he might have talked about those who work so hard, against the heavy odds of corporate power, to preserve the health of the planet itself, and to assure the future of our species.

Above all, I like to think he would be reminding his parishoners that this Jesus who was crucified by the Romans was not about the power of money and control, but rather about the power of love. I wish I could believe that more of today's self-professed Christians had learned this lesson from the example of the man with whom they claim a privileged personal relationship. Unhappily, I don't. From what I hear, what the resurrection means to them is the promise of Armageddon at the second coming, along with their miraculous personal salvation and the vengeful destruction of all those who fail to share their religiosity.

Perhaps my father, in his charity, would have simply recalled the words of Jesus as he died: Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. And perhaps those words about the meek who shall inherit the earth will prove prophetic in unexpected ways. If we manage to create the Armageddon we seem bound for in our international greed for resources and our lust for power, the survivors might just be the poorest of the poor, who live in ignorance of our excesses in the remotest corners of the world, and ask so little of its resources. Wouldn't that be something?


dennis said...

words of Jesus as he died: Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do

Now, it should be more like; Punish them, Father, for they know exactly what they do.

PK said...

Karma will take care of those who "know exactly what they do". The Great Spirit won't have to lift a finger, people will do it to themselves.