An Easter Note
From the Old Took
Spring has arrived in Buckland. My favourite time of year. Life, which did not die during Winter but rather lay dormant, has come back into the world. To be precise it’s Easter Sunday as I write this, and it’s just over 6 months since I sent you my first epistle. You did not need to thank me so profusely in your last letter. It's my humble duty. It’s the responsibility of the older generation to pass on its knowledge to the next. I do it as much for the countless generations that led up to me and will no doubt go on into the future. We owe it to the dearly departed and those that will come hither from now to pass on this knowledge.
I did not set out to write on any particular theme when we began our correspondence. I was merely going to send you the thoughts prompted in me by the pastoral setting I enjoy and the woeful situation the modern world is in. And yet a theme has emerged, as I’m sure you have noticed.
What we have been dancing around now for 6 months is the question of the hidden, or at least not noticed, trends that shape our world. I’ve metaphorised it quite a bit, but you’ve no doubt seen what I’ve been getting at.
Let us consider what it looks like in relation to this day.
For three years Jesus walked about the Levant preaching the Gospel. He told people that the meek would inherit the earth.
One of the shames of having Christianity so embedded in our culture is that it denatures it of its message. How many of you have heard passages from the bible since before you can remember? Imagine if you were a grown man in first century Palestine, or if you were a Saxon in the 5th century, or a Japanese man in the 16th or an Iranian today. What if a man came to you and told you the things Jesus told people.
Imagine telling a bloodthirsty warlord that the meek would inherit the earth. Imagine telling someone who lives by force of arms that ultimately his aggression would be overcome by peace. Imagine telling the oppressed that they should go the extra mile (Roman Legionaries had the right to ask locals to carry their pack for a mile along the road as they marched) or that when they were hit they were to turn the other cheek. We are too proud whether we know it or not. The pride and righteous indignation that comes with being wronged is what really damages us, but that is a very hard pill to swallow.
Imagine hearing that the Kingdom of God was coming and that this humble carpenter who did not follow the rules of the righteous was the Son of God, the one who would rule? Many could not see these truths embodied in the person of Christ.
And even those who believed gave up hope at his death on the cross. And both those groups had something in common. They could not see what was really happening. Those who first doubted really were talking to and seeing the Son of God. Peter and the disciples did not have the perspective to see what really happened when Christ died on the Cross. He, the One with the broken body, the One who was judged, the One who was mocked, the One who died really was the victor.
It is good to hold fast to what you think and believe is right. But we must also concede we lack perspective on many things. We still cant agree on things we have perspective about. One of the most heated, and enjoyable, because of the lack of stakes but still having energy, arguments that I have with a close friend of mine is whether Julius Caesar was a man of the people. He seems to me to be a man trying to help out the plebians. My friend has a dissenting view saying he was just as much a patrician as any of the others. (I concede that he used the plebs for his purposes.) There are many things we cannot agree on that we have lots of distance between. There are even some people who obstinately refuse to acknowledge France as rightfully belonging to England. And we think we can know what's going on in Ukraine? Be distrustful of anyone, on either side, who speaks too authoritatively about the issue.
This uncertainty about whats really going on, this pride we have that we know how to really fix the world, this inability to do anything about it: these are just a few of the crosses we have to bear on this long road we’re walking to Calvary.
And this is why, dear reader, we must have faith. For as the writer of Hebrews (who was probably Paul) tells us “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So we must have faith in the forces that are moving that we cannot see that have already won for us and be distrustful of the forces that we can see that want to enslave us. Life has already won.
I feel like we’ve made some progress and I intend to push on if you’ll join me. We have only just begun, and there is much more to cover.
I wish you, my dearest of readers, a very happy Easter.
Christ has risen, He has risen indeed!