Life is a mystery beyond our comprehension, it is much more than we can fathom or understand. As human beings there are times when we find it difficult to embrace, imbibe and surrender ourselves to this truth. Therefore, in order to make sense of it we attempt to compel others to fill our need that we may be secure, so we dominate, control and exercise power over others. This expressed through peer pressure, bullying and inveigling especially by those of high social, economic and political status. Although such security is uncertain and short lived. When this truth is encountered we exhibit further aggression, hostility and arrogance in spite of our efforts to protect ourselves from the truth of the mystery of life, it continues to stare us in the face-and as much as we have tried to deny it, directly or indirectly -the truth remains that we are Human and not God.
Our disordered relationships and our fear of death are intimately bound up together, they are as a result of our yielding to the temptation to put ourselves in the place of God, which results in alienation from God and each other.
We have an example of this in John 19: 8-11
“Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ 11Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”‘
To us human beings power and authority are expressed through domination, control, aggression, hostility, violence and force. It has to do with belittling, demeaning, vilifying, defaming, destroying the other, in order to make us look good and give us prominence. But this is not the way of God as we see in the Gospel according to Matthew:
“From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ 23But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”‘ (Matthew 16: 21-23)
Easter presents to us the power and authority of God. It shows us what true greatness is. There is a big contrast between this and the world’s understanding of it. As we see in the following passage of Scripture:
“And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’
38 Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, ‘You who would destroy
the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42 ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.””
(Matthew 27: 35-43)
Easter emphasizes that true greatness is the ability to absorb, receive and endure whatever others do to us without losing our sense of self, our identity, attributes and characteristics. It’s like a two year old child punching his father in his chest as hard as he can and basically it has no effect, or to be on the beach and digging a hole in the sand and trying to fill it with sea water. No matter how much water we put in the hole, it never fills up.
The Easter message informs us that throughout the passion, crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, God remained God, and human beings are still human beings, and we shall die. But God continues to be who God is, eternal. The meaning and purpose to this mystery we call life, is found in God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord is risen indeed come let us adore him. Alleluia!
I take this opportunity on behalf of my wife Lois and three daughters, Marcella, Malaika and Mikayla to wish you all a Blessed and Holy Easter.
Your friend and Bishop
The Rt. Rev’d C. Leopold Friday
Bishop of the Windward Islands