I beleive in the power of reclaiming things. Reclaiming means removing the layers of myth, trandition, literalism and dogma that can obscure the originating insight.
A growing number of people, especially young people, today identify as “spiritual but not religious” — but this idenfication does not mean that Easter cannot have profound meaning and relevance, esppecially as it relates to todays social movements.
In otherworlds — don’t throw Jesus out with the bath water!
Reclaiming requires unpacking the historical and cultural contextual lenses in order to discover the originating moment of conscious insight that gave birth to the moment. At the most basic level, consciousness is what we are and consciousness is the avenue through which all human experience passes. There is an originating Easter moment that gave birth to everything that followed, including the development of Christianity itself.
So let’s do some unpacking…
First let’s unpackage the cultural context:
To begin with, the Easter moment did not occur 3 days after the crusifiction of Jesus. That is a cultural story and meme that is attached to the Easter moment in order to give it traction in its evolution.
The image of a god buried in a tomb, being withdrawn and said to live again, is thousands of years older than the Jesus-Easter mythology. The themes that the gospel writers draw upon exist in Zoroaster, Mythras, Estar (Ishtar) and Osiris.
Of all the resurrected savior gods that were worshiped before and at the beginning of the Christian myth, none contributed so much to the mythology developing around Jesus as the Egyptian God Osiris.
Osiris was called “Lord of Lords,” “King of Kings” and “the good shepherd.” He was called the god who made “men and women to be born again.” He was called “the resurrection and the life.” He was the “god man” who suffered, died, rose again and lived eternally in heaven. They thought that by believing in Osiris they would share eternal life with him. Egyptian scripture reads as follows: “As truly as Osiris lives so truly shall his followers live also.”
Followers of Mithras participated in a rites of passage which was a symbolic death and rebirth. Association with the reborn God meant favor upon the individual.
Now let’s unpack the historical context:
Jesus lived and spoke into a system of oppression, discrimination and injustice. He spoke into a time of occupation by a white ruling class [The Romans] that did not tolerate anyone identified as “the other” stepping out of Line! The Roman Empire was clear, you can celebrate your culture, but you must follow our rules, pay our taxes and stay within the lines that we draw up. Don’t step out of line, or we’ll make an example of you through a brutal system of capital punishment called public crusifiction.
Both during the time of Jesus’s ministry and in the decades to follow, society was in the cross currents of social unrest; political corruption, religious hipocracy, social tention and economic oppression. To live your life as a “Christian” or follower of Christ — was to put your very life at risk.
And it is in the presence of these tentions Jesus brought a message of social reform (we well as personal responsiblity). Sin was for Jesus not just a personal missing the of mark, it was a public issue that had to be addressed. For Jesus sin was about not living up to the covenant that God had with all of humanity. For Jesus the covenant was simple:
We belong to each other.
In Matthew 5:17 he said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (pleroo),” What he was really saying is, “I did come to destroy how you are using the Law,” (and, thus, how you understand sin). The Greek word pleroo, which would be better interpreted as “to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full”, “to render full, i.e. to complete” (Strong’s G4137). In other words, the way the Law was being interpreted and practiced in Jesus’ time was missing the mark. Something more, something different, had to be done in order to fulfill the intent of the Law. We had to be better in fulfilling God’s covenant.
Therefore Jesus lived a message that was about resurrecting a COVENANT that he felt had been lost…
When he taught about “the other” Jesus said, “Samaritan lives matter.
When we included Jews and Gentiles in his ministry, Jesus said, “Gentile lives matter.” and “Jewish lives matter.”
When he met with the women at the well, Jesus said, “Women’s lives matter.”
When he healed the sick, Jesus said, “Lepers’ lives matter.”
Through this social, cultural and historical lense we see that:
He died because he challenged the status quo. He died because he upset authority; because he knew that Love would not sit silently by while those who had little were persecuted by those who had much.
He died because he was a social justice warrior, and the ruling class did not like it.
TO MAKE FULL THE LAW — is to Embody THE ONENESS WITH GOD that you were CREATED IN.
CONSCIOUS INSIGHT THAT GIVES BIRTH TO EASTER -
The conscious insight that gives birth to Easter is that this covenant has not died.
IT LIVES — because the URGE for HUMANITY AND DIVINITY TO MEET IS ETERNAL — and will be until it is complete or fulfilled in our lived experience.
The Easter moment is the moment in consciousness when his followers realized that the social revolution he stood for did not die with his physical death.
The Easter moment is a culminating breakthrough in consciousness that says, while a corrupt government will always find a way to produce corrupt trials and corrupt verdicts that result in taking the lives of unarmed innocent black and brown men who’s very existence is seen as a threat to the unjust system of white supremacy — there is something within the very fabric of our God-given make up that this broken system of thinking cannot destroy.
IT IS ETERNAL — IT IS EVERLASTING — IT WILL RISE — again, and again and again and again.
We are bound to a sacred covenant where Humanity and Divinity are destine to meet and reconcile themselves in our lived experience. Therefore with a social justice lens — when we hear the name “Jesus” exalted as a reminder of the eternal call to that covenant that shall never die — I can’t help but hear the names;
….And so many more
I hear the names of all those lost in violence, war and conflict — because deep in the ache called remembering is a reminder that death does not have the final word. In every innocent loss of life there is a call to awakening of our sacred covenant; WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER.