Easter 2011: Where Are We Now?

Right From the Start

This is Holy Week. It traces the final days of Jesus Christ. It culminates in Easter Sunday. It is the time that we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of the prophecy of the Old Testament. The whole concept of the death and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of the Christian religion in its various denominations. As Christians, we believe that Christ was the Son of God transformed into man. We believe that Christ’s crucifixion and death were atonement for our sins. His resurrection, we believe, was, in part, the demonstration of eternal reward for a life lived purposefully.

For Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans, at least, their Sabbath celebrations center on those final days of Christ’s life. They provide a Eucharist to the faithful that is symbolic of the breaking of bread at the Last Supper; they recount betrayal, torture and crucifixion as a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus. And they conclude with the celebration of His resurrection and promise to return. (For those of you who seek to understand the extraordinary importance of these events, I recommend that you view Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ.) The importance of these beliefs is found in the fact that over 2000 years, people have suffered persecution, torture, and death in defense of these beliefs.

For Catholics, each Friday of the Lenten season finds scores of the faithful in every church recounting these final days through the Stations of the Cross. It is a relatively brief period of prayer and reflection each week. And what stands out for many is the unbelievable inhumanity visited upon Jesus as He was condemned, beaten, forced to carry His own cross, nailed to that cross with spikes through His hands and feet, taunted while hanging there, and finally struck with a lance to see if He was dead. All the while, the crowds were cheering, jeering, and reveling in this sadistic exercise.

It is easy to dismiss this story as the results of a barbaric age, a less enlightened time. For non-believers it is easy to deny this story as a literary flourish designed to evoke sympathy for the cause of Christianity. But the unfortunate fact is that this sadistic brutality continues today.

While two thousand years have passed since the death of Christ, we are reminded daily of the atrocities that man can impose on other men. Just since the advent of the Twentieth Century, Adolph Hitler and his Nazi followers exterminated six million Jews simply because they were Jews. In the process they utilized the innocents as disposable labor, guinea pigs for bizarre and malevolent medical experiments, and entertainment for bloodthirsty soldiers. Josef Stalin and his Soviet communists did Hitler one better as he murdered somewhere between ten and twelve million of his own countrymen simply because they disagreed, or more often, he thought they might disagree. And to complete that modern day triad, add the name of Chairman Mao who may have killed more than either Hitler or Stalin simply because there were more Chinese to kill.

While they may have been the big three, they certainly didn’t have an exclusive franchise for ritualistic murder and mayhem. There’s Saddam Hussein who tortured, raped and murdered his political foes and sought to eliminate a whole section of his country by gassing the Kurds. There are the opposing sides in Kosovo after the breakup of the old Yugoslavia where rape, torture and dismemberment were both a form of entertainment and a punishment for being different than the perpetrators. The African continent has been wracked by tribal and ethnic warfare for as long as I can remember – the Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, the Congo, and on and on – and in each instance the brutality and the celebration of that brutality goes beyond any notion of war. And the latest entry in these displays of barbarous rituals are the Islamic fascists who engage in the torture, beating and beheading of their foes and produce waves of suicide bombers to murder the innocents in the Middle East and the silence of the civilized world remains disgusting.

The brutality of man lies just beneath the surface of every civilization. There are monsters out there that will encourage and feed upon that brutality for their own ends. And there are events that will strip back the veneer of those civilized societies and rekindle that brutality in an instance.

In contrast, however, there is the end of the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. As He hung dying on the cross, Jesus spoke these words. “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” In the end, it is about forgiveness and redemption. Where do your instincts lie?

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Individual Responsiblity, Religion | 26 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Kennaparks

    He has arisen! Just ask the Dems, because he occupies the WH.

    • Loocifer

      …and His little myrtle dove angel flits about with a fleet of 737’s at her discretion.

  • Joe

    And it is hard to forgive him!!

  • Hi There Folks

    It’s also Passover Week for Jews – but I guess they are not part of your little world..

    • Rupert in Springfield

      No, its probably more like your world consists of running around trying to be offended by everyone and thus someone writing their feelings about a Christian holiday is a slight against you because somehow them not addressing all holidays is a slight.

      If you express equal ire for French cookbooks leaving out recipes for Gefilte Fish please accept my apologies in advance.

      • Valley person

        Since there are, or once were plenty of French Jews, one probably could find a Gefilte Fish recipe in a French cookbook if one looks hard enough.

        But Larry’s post does remind me of a joke. Jews, Christians and Muslims all consider themselves descended from the prophet Abraham. This is the first known case of prophet sharing.

      • Valley person

        Since there are, or once were plenty of French Jews, one probably could find a Gefilte Fish recipe in a French cookbook if one looks hard enough.

        But Larry’s post does remind me of a joke. Jews, Christians and Muslims all consider themselves descended from the prophet Abraham. This is the first known case of prophet sharing.

      • Hi There Folks

        No little man – it’s just that a few of us conservative types are Jewish and Mr. Huss is still one of those folks that used to ask “what church do you belong to” when one attended Republican Party Meetings back in the 1990s. Still the same old mindset that has no place for others of different faiths in their little, limited world.

    • Joe

      Write your own article about it, then. Man up!

  • Stalin, surviving wwii handsomely, thanks to Churchill, empowered Moa.
    When some MPs questioned the wisdom of Yalta, Churchill told them: “Marshall Stalin and the Soviet leaders wish to live in honourable friendship and equality with the Western democracies….I know of no Government which stands to its own obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

  • Stalin, surviving wwii handsomely, thanks to Churchill, empowered Moa.
    When some MPs questioned the wisdom of Yalta, Churchill told them: “Marshall Stalin and the Soviet leaders wish to live in honourable friendship and equality with the Western democracies….I know of no Government which stands to its own obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

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