Many believe these things happened. I assume most believe the crucifixion actually happened. And some certainly believe the resurrection is to be understood as having also actually happened. Others believe it is to be taken symbolically, not literally.
But as heretical as it might be, that isn’t of great concern to me. The reason is because, whether literal or symbolic, the resurrection is still a story about an idea. It’s the idea that you cannot kill good. You cannot kill love. You cannot kill forgiveness, mercy, compassion. Those things will always be more powerful than hate, than selfishness, than greed, than judgment. They will always triumph because they are always needed more than hate.
Hate is an indulgence. I think when we see someone filled with hate we should say, “Wow, there’s someone with too much time on their hands.” Because it’s true. They are indulging in a selfish, greedy exercise for their own entertainment, their own self-righteousness, Their own feeling of superiority.
But Love? Love isn’t an indulgence. It’s a life necessity. Humanity can’t live without it. It is what engenders hope. It is what builds relationships. It is what sustains us in the midst of tragedy. Hate can’t do any of those things, only love can.
The Passion Lesson
So, whether you believe Jesus physically or symbolically rose from the dead, there still has to be a reason for it to have happened. If you believe it is so you are saved? Saved from what? Eternal damnation is, of course, one answer, and that may be true. But what about another answer? Maybe you were saved from hate and judgment. Maybe you were saved from thinking hate and judgment were the best road forward, the best way to react to life. Much of the world around us certainly promotes them as something to feel and act on.
Maybe you were saved when you learned from seeing Jesus being willing to practice what he preached so thoroughly that he allowed himself to be crucified. Not just to fulfill an ancient prophesy, and not just to make a cosmic level save for humanity, but to show humanity something about living on this earth.
Your Neighbor, Here and Now
Jesus so often talked about the Kingdom of God being at hand. I think he meant in the here and now on earth. And how do we access it? By following his teachings. And what were his teachings? Yes, there are teachings about the theology and government of the afterlife. But beyond saying you believe it there isn’t anything else you can do but believe it.
But his teachings on allowing nothing to get in the way of loving your neighbor? That we can act on right now. And he even made it easy for us all. When asked, “but who is my neighbor?” He made it very clear, everyone is your neighbor.
Drawings and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com