“No More!” An Eastertide Meditation, Part 1 of 5

An Apologia: Eastertide or the Great 50 Days, running from Easter Day (this year, April 17) to the Day of Pentecost (this year, falling on June 5), grants an opportunity for a deeper dive into the mystery of the Christian claim of the resurrection of Jesus.

In the early 1st century Common Era, Jesus of Nazareth, an itinerant teacher, reputed wonder-worker, and proclaimer of the kingdom of God, was crucified by Roman authority. Jesus died, was buried, and then rose from the dead.

This, in brief, is the Easter message, without which there is no two millennia and counting of Christianity, which, as a world religion or faith tradition, has shaped, for good and for ill, human history. Easter, therefore, is important. Thus, I ask: What do we make of it?

Recently, I read an issue of a prominent theological journal. The focus, Easter. The majority of the articles, written from a decidedly traditionalist perspective.[1]

What do we make of Easter? A traditionalist might say that through Jesus we are saved. So, we call Good Friday “good.” On that Calvary cross of crucifixion, Jesus, in fulfillment of God’s will, vicariously, for us, accepted the divine and just punishment of death that we deserve for our disobedience against God. Then Jesus rose from the dead, proving that death is not the end.  Through faith in Jesus, we inherit eternal life; life beyond the grave. So, we lift our voices: “Hymns of praise then let us sing…unto Christ, our heavenly King…Who endured the cross and grave…sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!” and “Lord, by thy stripes which wounded thee, from death’s dread sting thy servants free…Alleluia!”[2]

This traditional view of Easter, however, raises questions. Who is this God at the heart of the story: This angry God, who, as an act of appeasement, desires, demands a death?

To be continued…

© 2022 PRA

Illustration: Resurrection (1896), James Tissot (1836-1902)

[1] I, a Christian, use the word “traditionalist” respectfully, as it connotes a still principal viewpoint affirmed by a preponderance of my brother and sister Christians worldwide.

[2] From the hymns, “Jesus Christ is risen today!” and “The strife is o’er, the battle done.”

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