By Rev. Susan Brims
An unseen voice spoke, “follow the pall bearers…” I couldn’t help but think about how many funeral processions I had participated in over my lifetime. In the silence of the moment the pall bearers picked up the stretcher with the shrouded body on it and led the group of people from the chapel where the Good Friday service began to a tomb in another building, where the service would end, with a giant stone being rolled into place.
I could not help but think about the year we have had. The pandemic and the politics have revealed to us not only the extent to which some people will go to extend kindness and generosity to others, but it has also revealed the extent to which some people, even those who call themselves Christian, will go to express their hate and anger.
The flood of emotion was overwhelming this last Good Friday. The sound of the hammer, the last words spoken at the cross, the image of the body being carried away, the sealing of the tomb – all of it left me numb in the reality that the same type of judgmentalism that orchestrated the death of Jesus is still very much present in our world today. I found myself hurrying away after the service ended, wanting to ask Jesus if this is what he died for, so people could point fingers at persons of color and allow generations of racism to lead to unbridled violence, so church folk could write anger-filled emails and send them without any thought about of their own discipleship, so selfishness could insist that face coverings were unnecessary, giving no thought to those vulnerable persons who needed protection. Is this what Jesus died for?
I found it necessary to confess my own complicity in today’s reality. Lord, have mercy. Saturday was a quiet day as I sat with the reality of sin and its impact on our world. Christ have mercy. Lord, forgive us, for we know not what we do. Lord, have mercy.
I don’t know what I expected this particular Easter morning. The drive-in service I attended, the services I watched online all shared the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and its meaning. Somewhere during the day the messages I heard in the morning caused an answer to my question to stir, that yes, Jesus had died for just this reason, to reveal to us the extent to which love would go to be known. Jesus cared about the poor and disadvantaged and in caring he challenged good people of faith to care as well. Jesus taught that the greatest power a person could have is the power to serve with humility and, in his words, he challenged the political leaders to do the same. Jesus loved the very persons others couldn’t stand and challenged people to accept and love them as well. Be a light in the darkness, Jesus said. It costs a lot to live like that.
I ran across a 1TED talk by Valarie Kaur. Her TED talk profile read:
Valarie Kaur is a social justice activist, lawyer, filmmaker, innovator, mother and Sikh American thought leader who founded the Revolutionary Love Project — a movement that envisions a world where love is a public ethic.
As I listened to her talk I heard the words of Jesus calling us to love one another. This is how people will know we are followers of Jesus by our love, isn’t that what we read in the Bible?
After the year we have experienced my most fervent prayer as we live into this Easter season is that the good news of the resurrection will inspire us to let love arise in our own lives in powerful ways, in what we say, in what we do, in how we live our lives each and every day. Christ has risen, and love abounds.
Let love arise in your life. It will change everything.
Your sister on the journey,