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.
To look at the crucifixion of Jesus is to see something immediately identifiable. The New Testament doesn’t adorn Jesus’ death with artistic or linguistic allegory. The depiction is grittily real.
Recently, a friend shared word of a death in her family, saying, “We lost her. She passed, leaving last night.” Then, with a wry smile and the shake of her head, she, seeming to rethink it, said, simply, directly, “She died.”
So, the New Testament. Jesus was arrested without justifiable cause, tried and convicted without incriminating evidence, stripped naked and spat on, beaten and bloodied, compelled to carry the instrument of his own death, hoisted on a cross, the nails tearing into his flesh, and left to hang until, finally, exhausted, suffocating under the weight of his own body.
Life is not always like this, but it is like this…
Terrible, horrible moments – before the crucifixion and through time to the Inquisition to the rapacious colonization of the New World to the Middle Passage of the slave trade to the American Civil War to the Holocaust to the Balkans to Rwanda to the Sudan to the Middle East and the Holy Land to 9/11 to Ukraine to acts of race-and-religion-conspiracy-theorizing-related domestic terrorism to countless personally-experienced, publicly-unknown tragedies – are terrible and horrible. So, at least, Jesus’ death squares with our experience. It’s real.
As it is real, then we can look through the lens of our lives, our experience of being human, at the mirror of this story in the hope, perhaps even trusting that we will glimpse a fair reflection.
To be continued…
© 2022 PRA
Illustration: Resurrection (1896), James Tissot (1836-1902)