Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Rising, He restored our life."

I come from a Christmas family. The folks always go overboard decorating the house, including a huge Santa collection, and invite half the town over for their annual Open House in December. But it's important to remember that on the Christian calendar, Easter is a far more significant day.

On this holiest of days, we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. On Christmas, we celebrate his birth, and on Good Friday, we mourn his death and mark his sacrifice for our salvation. I've always drawn from the lessons of Christ's life on earth. For while he is the Son of God, he was also a man. In National Review, Jerry Bower writes an excellent essay on Christ's death and resurrection, not from scripture, but from history:

Jesus was a politically sophisticated man. He knew what was coming.

He faced the executioners bravely. He accepted, even embraced his death, and overcame it. By doing this he took the stinger out of Jerusalem and Rome. Behind all the taxes and tolls, price controls, and monopolies, and behind the governors and tetrarchs and consuls and emperors, lurked a tax-hungry greed, and the greed was backed up by the threat of death. The emperor’s colossal ego was fed by the people of Rome; the Romans were fed by the bread and circuses; the bread and circuses were fed by the armies; the armies fed on the captive peoples, and the captive peoples who didn’t like it were fed to the lions, or (even worse) the crucifix.

Such it has always been. When tyrants rule, money flows uphill and pain flows down. At the top is always a Caesar (or his etymological cousins, a Kaiser or a Czar). In the modern age, they usually make a hypocritical nod to democracy by calling themselves “President,” but the suffix “for life” tells us what’s really going on. At the bottom is the enemy of the state and what awaits him is a cross, or a gas chamber, perhaps a syringe filled with poison, or the observation section of a rape room and then a trip to the paper shredder. Every tyrant rules the same way: through threat of torture, humiliation, and death.

But when Jesus said, “Go ahead, do your worst,” and, as his early followers testified, overcame death, he ripped the stinger out, rendering the whole wasp twitching and dying from tip to tail. When his followers chose the cross as their symbol, they seemed to be turning “the world upside down,” but they weren’t; they were turning the upside-down world, finally, right-side-up. To get the flavor, imagine a revolutionary-era Frenchman displaying a tiny replica of the guillotine, or modern Iraqis wearing little rape-room replicas around their necks, or industrial paper shredders. Imagine Russian dissidents making the sign of the syringe, or think of Holocaust survivors who display their tattooed identification numbers with pride instead of shame. This is what the early followers of Jesus did with the Roman cross.

I recommend reading the whole thing. May you and yours have a most Blessed Easter.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Thank you Grant..I do know that if it were not for His Resurrection, my faith would be in vain. My hope and trust is in Him alone. By His grace I have been saved.