Yes, it’s that time of year again. The Easter bunny is coming out of his winter rabbit hole and offering us all a super-duper chocolate egg with all the cholesterol fuelled, inner trappings.
‘Let’s binge on sentimentality and cheap chocolate for the Lord of Life has risen.’
I never really understood the whole Easter thingy during my fundamentalist days.
Originally a pagan festival, (nothing against my pagan friends!), the Early Christian movement had the brain wave of hijacking it for the Cause, along with lots of other paganish things.
Yet, here I am sitting in Lincoln, where, at the top of the Steep Hill, the ecclesiastical professionals of Lincoln cathedral are getting all sad and forlorn about tomorrow’s inappropriately named ‘Good Friday’. Down here in the High Street, the traders are thinking about how much cash they’ll make over the holiday weekend. Elsewhere the average punter is worrying about missing the football because the mother-in-law coming for Easter Sunday Lunch and an afternoon sleep!
Here in the UK, religion has become a minority sport, usually played by those in the autumn and winters of their lives. Of course the trendy, jumpy up and down churches grab a few of the younger generation for a while, but only a few. Most teens and 20s are setting their sights on the next piece of electronic kit that can brighten up their predictable existence.
I wonder did the Nazarene prophet, see it all up ahead as he hung there dying on the Roman death device. Did a tear of existential angst run down his bloodied cheek? Could his death really be reduced to a sanctimonious wailing and gnashing of teeth, with crocodile tears replacing Living Waters. Could the Establishment’s token sympathy for a god/man be the one day wonder that would quickly pass into history, leaving culture to get on with the real business of life, making cash!
Let me be blunt. The death of the Nazarene wasn’t some legalistic case of Divine butchery, one to appease a Higher Justice. No, it was the exposure of what really lies within the ego realm of man, viz. rivalry and violence. It was a bloody revelation of Divine Love’s Innocence and our screwed sense of being. Dressing it up in theological garb with substitutionary atonement as its official garb is to cleverly avoid the issue. The God of Yeshuaisn’t into cultural niceties and warm cuddly religion. For, above all, Divine Love is a realist – one put away by political and religious power through the humiliating public violence of execution.
Of course the death of the Nazarene matters, for it strikes at the heart of our ego run society and the pained woundedness of our own hearts. Those in pain strike back and that’s what the big wigs of first century Palestine did to the revolutionary Nazarene.
The death of the prophet shows that the game is up. Religion, although it has a jolly good go, can no longer portray the Divine as enemy or Self-Righteous Holy Other. Presence came in the Nazarene to smell our shit and suffer the consequences.
So, ‘Good Friday’ isn’t so good – frankly it’s hell and a hell that we must face up to before the Dawn of New Life emerges from the tomb of our fragmented Self. No use pussy-footing around our frailties, for as every recovering addict knows, we are screwed without brutal honesty.
Of course there’s a greater Reality than our space-time dysfunctions – a Union with Source that has never nailed a prophet-preacher to a tree. One that lies back and embraces the Unconditional Love that’s been there all along. The Friday event is the shock therapy that awakens us to the real us and the real God. At least that’s my take on it.