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Easter– The Story of Life and Hope

3 April 2021 01:20 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Easter brings together the victorious death and the glorious resurrection or the glorious life beyond the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Christianity is based on the belief in the resurrection of the Lord and Master Jesus Christ. All early Christian traditions saw as glorious the torture, the unjust verdict and the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. It is important to enter into this paradox if one were to understand the significance of Easter. Jesus was crucified because of his stand in favour of the ‘untouchables’ or the marginalised of the Palestinian society. 

He became a thorn in the flesh of the pious officialdom of Jerusalem because he relativized some of their most hallowed traditions. Yet, ultimately the execution by crucifixion was determined by the Roman governor.

Why was Jesus’ death called ‘glorious’ or ‘victorious’ by early Christians? It was because he lived and died for others, especially the victims and the marginalised of the society. His life was tied to God whom he called ‘Father’ or ‘Abba’ in the most intimate familiar form used in Palestinian homes. His entire life bound with God led him to live a life of liberation for others. 

The story of Jesus did not end in the tomb. His companions experienced his fellowship after his death and declared him alive. They ‘saw’ he was on a journey with them calling them to continue the work begun by him while on earth. Easter is the story of the future of humanity, a life lived for the wellbeing of humanity that will live on victorious even beyond death. 

What is the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus to people living in the early decades of the twenty-first century? Easter is the story of salvation, liberation and wholeness. It is an invitation to shun evil and embrace goodness at all levels, a call to personal, social and structural healing. 

In a world where the gap is enormous between the poor and the rich, the resurrection of Jesus calls for a halt of this trend in order to allow a fair share of the riches of the earth to all its inhabitants. In a world where the rich countries syphon the wealth of the third world by multiple means such as the international debt trap, the resurrection of Jesus calls for a change in debt service and transnational trade. 

The craze for wealth depletes natural resources, drags gifts of nature such as water into the market economy depriving and killing millions of poor people. Easter is also a call to protect the gifts of nature, the earth with its mineral resources, fauna and flora. Deforestation and uncontrolled carbon emissions resulting from the drive to accumulate wealth are making the planet uninhabitable to living beings. Easter Sunday is a call to assure a future for the blue planet.

One cannot write a note on Easter in the context of Sri Lanka without referring to the Easter Sunday carnage of April 2019. The traumatised, mutilated and dead will remain a scar in the history of this nation. Justice constitutes both the acknowledgement of guilt and forgiveness. The victims may have forgiven the perpetrators. The sin of the hidden perpetrators who planned the massacre is greater and will remain a curse all along their days on earth until their guilt is acknowledged and justice re-established to the victims because of the blood of the innocent cries for justice from the ground. 

Let us conclude with a Christian reading of hope dictated by Easter inspiration which has resonances in other religious and cultural traditions. It is the victim who will have to liberate the perpetrator. Such freedom is experienced by the perpetrators who submit themselves to post-violence truth commissions. 

When confronting the victim(s) bearing the scars inflicted by the perpetrator, the perpetrator himself or herself will be commissioned by his or her conscience to a process of conversion. The question of whether a human being could commit such violence to another human being will be raised in the conscience of the perpetrator. But what about the victims who were killed - the victims of injustice and violence to whom justice can no longer be re-established because they are gone from us? It is the concept of god which sees the length and breadth of history here and hereafter. Human engagement is only in one ‘piece’ of history. 


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