I love Easter!
I love ceremony that helps seal my awareness and that celebrates the restorative, reconciling events of life on planet earth, and Easter is just about the most important Bridge Event that ever was. This, my first post this holy season, will not have any specifically cross-cultural references, such as the all-important Jamaican Easter bun 😋. But stay with me and you might actually be sweetly surprised🇯🇲. This Holy Week, stick to the theological term The Atonement if the etymology of the word ‘Easter’ bothers you but don’t deny yourself these reminders of the ever true, ever-relevant Work of Christ in reconciling God and Man, through His substitutionary death on the Cross, and His Glorious Resurrection! “Hosannah!”
By the time Palm Sunday 2018 had come around, the wave of The Black Panther movie had crested and was seeking fresh patterns of box office ebb and flow, in the entertainment world, beyond America’s shores. Most of the political and socio-economic mileage had been juiced out of it by the various talking heads. Late-comers to the conversation would never have the chance to just enjoy it as the aesthetically rich, clean, exciting Afro-centric fairy-tale that it was. A wholesome plot line and humorous scenes such as the tech-genius ( played by Letitia Wright) sister of T’challa King of Wakanda, left sitting unceremoniously in a holographic driver’s seat – all that was left of the King’s Ride – tempted us to believe again in a promise of goodness in the world, that God is in His heaven, even in Hollywood. But the smiles did not last too long, as fresh issues of racial injustice and systemic bias promptly filled the posts on our church’s ‘Be the Bridge’ * (BTB) Facebook page.
As I entered the church’s fellowship hall, converted to represent the various Stations of the Cross on Palm Sunday, I was reminded of the struggle I have been having this Easter season. Even here I realized a losing battle was on, as I strove to keep my eyes on the historical Jesus in period garb, placidly entering Jerusalem astride a donkey. The scenes of all the down-trodden of ancient Israel crying out “Oh save!” to Jesus, soon morphed into the various scenarios from today’s news about America’s ongoing racial, and socio-economic struggles and the seeming powerlessness and disconnectedness of the Christian community. I realized that I had been “ruined (again), for the ordinary” and yearned to see through the eyes of the Man of Sorrows who alone has always seen it all, understood it all, and whose shoulders alone can bear it all.
Sitting at the station of the cross representing the Via Dolorosa, I caught a new vision of the One acquainted with our grief and realized that He has been answering my prayers – tears flowed silently, as I held a 12″ cross in my hand, intended to represent the burdens of others – I acknowledged my total inability to carry burdens myself anywhere but to the feet of Jesus! Relief washed over me as I felt oddly like a little child taking a young friend with an adult-sized problem to the only One I knew who could fix any and everything – My Heavenly Dad.
Almost without my knowing it, the awareness, acknowledgement, lament, confession and forgiveness stirred by sharing with brave souls, across ethnic lines in the BTB small groups, along with going through the Prayer Counseling Ministry of our church, and earnestly reading thru Scripture had changed me, changed the way I looked at the world and its sorrows: IT WAS NO LONGER UP TO ME, and in fact, never was. I could now look at pain and even let myself feel …without despairing!
Looking at the ancient scene in my mind, one last time, I recognized my place in the montage — I am the little colt, the little donkey sure-footedly ploughing through the crowds, freshly awakened to the fact that the cheering is not for me but rather for the King — the One I bear to the place of His Divine appointment. My only job is to be the King’s ride, responding to His whispered instructions and gentle nudges, without resistance or implosion, to prayerfully re-present Him to the various sites of my world’s egregious issues, wherever He steers me, from Heaven’s control tower. To arrogate more to myself is to risk winding up on my rear midst life’s troubled highways, in all that’s left of a virtual driver’s seat. He will do what only He can do — defeat the arch-enemy, destroy his works, heal the orphan’s broken heart and tame the zealot before he warps into a Judas or a ‘Killmonger’— establish His Kingdom’s reign where justice will freely pour down like a river. So, “Ride on King Jesus! Ride on!”. Come ride on my life; colt or Chariot of fire, this woman won’t “a-hinder Thee!”.
* ‘Be the Bridge’ is a small group curriculum designed by lover of King Jesus, Latasha Morrison. Available online, it provides content, reading recommendations and a framework for small group engagement of the sticky topic of racial reconciliation, across ethnic lines, from a Biblical stand-point. It is further supported by a FB community