Easter Reflection

  • Posted: April 13, 2021
  • Category: Blog
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This past Easter, my wife and I joined our daughter’s family, their church rather than our own. I was uplifted. It was a powerfully moving service, an auditorium full of people with the Spirit electrifying them, humble people praising God unashamed. Even me, as buttoned down an old white male as any, raised my hand to God in unaccustomed emotion, filled with sheer joy at the miracle we celebrate on Easter morn.

I have been in enough churches in enough places to know that morning’s experience was repeated for tens of millions across our nation that same morning. Perhaps some in grander settings, some in less; some in more staid services, some in even more spirit filled – dare I say Pentecostal?

Thinking back on that morning crowd, I am left to wonder – “Why are we so invisible?” We are immersed in our culture. That is what a culture is, the sea of custom and belief in which we swim. Our culture may be invisible to us, as the goldfish replied to the watching cat’s query outside the bowl, “What water?”

Our water, the milieu of our existence, is made visible in the great cacophony of media – news, movies, television, news sites/papers. Our water is also made visible in the business of our country, commercial and political. Our culture even as it morphs and adapts remains built on the solid foundation of law and custom flowing out of that Easter morning. But we, the people who live in light of that faith are unseen. The people in that church last Sunday morning as well as the tens of millions along with us, are invisible.

Occasionally one of us is necessarily trotted out into view, a caricature shows up, a stock figure when there is need for a buffoon, a villain or stalking horse. This is a new development, though its evolution clearly visible in retrospect. Not that long ago the faith and its believers supporting the framework of our civilization was clearly on display, in government, in commerce, in entertainment and in academia.

On Easter Sunday, we celebrate a man, one Jesus – an itinerant rabbi and “son” of Joseph, a building contractor in the 1st Century Galilean village of Nazareth in the Roman province of Judea. After three years of an increasingly public ministry, this man endured a very public and brutal execution, was buried in the grave for three days and then resurrected into life.

His rendezvous with death and the miracle of his resurrection were no surprise to him. Jesus had spoken freely of it over the three years of that brief ministry. Even further, these events had been foretold repeatedly over the previous twenty centuries. Men, known as prophets, spoke of Him in varied times and circumstances, men coming from every imaginable circumstance, i.e. farmers, eunuchs, court officials, priests, etc.

If the events of that Sunday morning some twenty centuries past are indeed true, then it is without any doubt, the most important event in the history of the human race. If they are not true, then the presence of so many millions of people believing such a fairy tale is obviously a clear and present danger to the State, a fifth column whose ultimate loyalty is in question, a fifth column susceptible to demagogues of the most dangerous sort. This is obviously something no State can tolerate.

Both Jesus and the Roman Imperium that ruled understood that simple rule of the road. For his part, Jesus used simple stories to illustrate its truth, summing them up with the maxim, “No man can serve two masters”. The Roman Imperium had no need for fine words or memorable maxims, simply offering those making the wrong choice including Jesus himself another choice – the cross or the arena. Our once beloved President, Abraham Lincoln, phrased it in a memorable speech before a Congress as feckless as that in our own time, “a house divided cannot stand”.

So here we are in the America of 2021, heirs to a civilization built over the course of 4,000 years resting on belief in the truth of an executed criminal’s resurrection on a Sunday morning some 2,000 years past. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then He was not the Son of God; ipso facto, God does not exist. If God, at least the God of the Bible, does not exist, then we are truly alone, simply ephemeral swirls in the stardust of a deterministic Universe.

Whether by brief survey or studious examination, it is obvious that the elite culture leading and guiding our lives, i.e. Adorable America, has no real belief in the truth of Easter. It is also obvious that our betters simply accept Easter to be our own culture’s celebration of Spring’s arrival, the Vernal Equinox.

Over cocktails safely ensconced among like minds, ironic chuckles might be exchanged as a learned wit among them compares the mythos of Easter to the rites of Persephone. In a twist, distinctly American, the current public understanding of Easter, America’s own celebration of the Vernal Equinox, has become the opportunity for commerce and myth to merge in an event of turbocharged synergy, a credit card chasing the Easter Bunny.

And so, we are left with the conundrum of America in 2021 – a culture that publicly and explicitly denies the truth of the beliefs that created it and are its foundation. It is as if we live and work in a great skyscraper whose foundation has washed away. The building continues to stand, its framework stress tested over centuries, very well built but the foundation has eroded away. Where once was solid rock under our culture is now simply wishful thinking.

Such elders of the Adorables unconcerned with career and cancel culture as remain, few as they are, steeped in history and the understanding of men’s natures would be troubled at this development. Seeking counsel from those who should know, the wise heads of the Academy, those worthies will harrumph, “cultures are always built upon myths”, adding that Western Civilization is simply the latest culture built on fable and legend. There is of course some truth in this, the dons of the faculty lounge are renowned for missing the obvious in search of the obscure, of refuting the rule with the exception that proves the rule.

The wise heads of the Academy, secure in tenure but increasingly at the sufferance of their volatile students, quickly add that all cultures are equal, should be respected. Always leading the way, California schools now celebrate this wisdom. California now recommends that teachers lead their students in chants to the Aztec gods. One suspects this is an attempted genuflection to the cultures of Central America and Mexico, the homelands of California’s Hispanic underclass.

This population of Helots supporting the Adorable enclaves that are the face of California must be brought into the fold, properly represented in the Balkans of Adorable America. The fact that the cultures of Central America and Mexico are overwhelmingly of Catholic Christianity has apparently escaped the notice of the Academy’s wise heads.

Perhaps in the near future, rather than Easter egg hunts or Passion Plays, the parents of California’s elementary school children might be entertained with school plays re-enacting the Aztec’s celebration of the Vernal Equinox, Tlacaxipehualiztli.  Properly Adorable California parents will certainly welcome the opportunity for virtue signaling by buy their children more diverse costumes. Perhaps the Asian sweatshops turning out these cheap products for Party City or Target can produce properly realistic costumes for the kids to wear at themed neighborhood Tlacaxipehualiztli parties, i. e. the flayed skins of human sacrifices.

My own life’s experience has taught me the importance of myth. Myth is the understandable expression of complex realities, but myth will not exist, with no power or belief if it is not truth. To quote a recent yard sign expressing the zeitgeist of our age, an emotional expression of hope seeking to achieve mythic life, “Love is love. No human being is illegal. Science is real. Be kind to all. Black lives matter. Feminism is for everyone.” In the absence of Christianity, these sentiments are idle nonsense.  And unless the reality of Easter Morning is true, then Christianity is nonsense.

A seminal thought expressed by that well meant yard sign is “Science is real.” But the logic of science denies the validity of its companions, putting the lie to its fellow nostrums. Science is an inexorable Universe, the dance of the electrons and the black emptiness of death. Science leads to the politics of Machiavelli, where love and kindness are weakness to be exploited, all human beings, including black ones, are chattel, where females are a means to an end. And it must be said that framework supporting the increasingly fragile false front that is Science, science, has only come about only within the culture founded on Christianity.

So we who believe, whose heart rejoices with the hope Easter morning validates, what are we to do? How are we to live? We find ourselves in a land where despite our tens of millions, we are strangers without faces, aliens confronted with idols. We are finally waking to the horrific reality of our children’s indoctrination into the existential nihilism of balkanized paganism. What are we to do?

There is strength in numbers and, despite our anonymity, we can be a mighty force, perhaps a dominating force. In the face of disrespect, of persecution or intolerable edicts, we are human beings and our anger is triggered, our thoughts turn to fighting back. Once aroused, we are a formidable force and there are no shortage of candidates aspiring to the role of righteous warrior. Even now there are those forging the armor of an El Cid, hammering out the platform for Bernard of Clairvaux.

We who celebrate Easter morning would do well to remember that once the spirit of anger, even righteous anger, is aroused, it is a blunt hammer – just ask the Amalekites or those living in Jerusalem during the 1st Crusade. The record of those who have used fire and sword to further the Kingdom is not good. We honor the memory of the Pilgrims, not their fellow travelers in time and circumstance – Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, and his New Army.

But given the gales that blow we must do something. In the absence of new revelation or a burning bush, I think we might take direction from the revelation we have. That man who rose on Easter taught his followers, and us – if we will listen. I do not know of any teaching by Jesus or his Apostles that counseled meeting anger with anger, reacting to disrespect with disrespect or persecution with persecution. He called us who believe, who have seen the Light, to be “the salt of the earth”, not “Soldiers for Christ”. Perhaps if there were more salt in Academia or the media or journalism, or the executive suites, our country might be a different place.

Until then, we might also remember that Jesus often spoke of trials and suffering that would beset his followers. Pointedly to us in 21st Century America, He closed out the discourse to his disciples at the Last Supper, the Thursday night before his death the following morning, with these words of encouragement.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 

What more do we need to know?

4 Responses to “Easter Reflection”

  1. Bill R. says:

    Bill: Amazingly beautifully written. Why did you waste all your time doing engineering projects? Can I forward this to a couple friends who need to read it? (with or without Author’s name? BLESSINGS!
    CHEERS Blessings!

  2. Judy Spreier says:

    Wonderful blog Bill. Wish our elective officials could read it.

  3. Pete Straub says:

    Beautiful. This one in the top 5 of Absolom blogs, and the competition is fierce. As Easter continues for 30 days, so Happy Easter, Bill. US Church membership has now dropped below 50%, “they” claim. Our peril is that no longer our inalienable rights from God will be recognized, as for so many, the truth of Easter does not exist. We are indeed in the “winter” of our times, but for Deplorables like us, both spring and Christ Jesus are coming.

  4. Susie Straub says:

    Heard so much about your writing from Pete. Have to experience for myself.

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