The Cost of Easter

Thus we enter into the foreboding of Holy Week. Now that Jesus's ironic and triumphant entrance into Jerusalem via the road of heroic past conquerors on an untamed and young colt has been acknowledged in our worship services, we await with some dread knowing what is to come. 

I don't think that Easter is worth celebrating if we don't take time to acknowledge its cost. Yes, the cost of Jesus' passion is a part of this road we are on in Holy Week; but there is another cost to consider. 

The cost of looking straight in the eye of evil.


That evil isn't a convenient figure we can distance ourself from with names and images--the kind of evil we are confronted with in Holy Week is the depth of evil to which all of us are susceptible. The kind of evil I am talking about is the frenzy that can take a hold of a crowd to the point of shrieking CRUCIFY HIM! 
("GOD HATES FAGGOTS!" "NUKE THOSE RAGHEADS!")

The kind of evil I am talking about is the self-righteous and false display of religiosity in the High Priest ripping his clothes in condemnation at the Sanhedrin. 
(Much akin to many false displays of religiosity we can find in our churches as we frantically search for enemies to hide our own sins behind.)

The kind of evil I am talking about is the de-humanizing done to Jesus by the soldiers on the way to Golgotha and on the hill, where they found no qualm in laughingly gambling away Jesus' clothes and mocking the faith of the people they are occupying by coronating Jesus with a crown of thorns and "enthroning" him on a cross. 
(I am reminded of the dehumanizing that is found in times of war, of instances where we had no qualms in ravaging Native American populations and painting them as "savages" in our own conquest of North America, or a story where Israeli people moved a couch to the top of a hill and ate popcorn while watching Gaza undergo airstrikes and be bombed.[http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israelis-cheer-gaza-bombing])





Israelis sit on a hill to watch air strikes on Gaza, some bring drinks and snacks as they cheer the explosions a few miles away. 
Photograph: gath/UPI/Landov/Barcroft Media




There are contemporary parallels to the evils surrounding Jesus in his Holy Week journey. I am sure you can find your own. Before we can have permission to celebrate Easter, we ought to acknowledge not only the cost of Jesus' life, but also note the depth of evil that grips us and is expressed in the narrative surrounding Jesus' passion. It is then that Easter is transformed into a celebration not only of Jesus' resurrection, but also an ultimate redemption of our souls.

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