Dienstag, 19. April 2011

Discovering a Living Resurrection

But here is the truth—the religious story I was part of in Roxbury was far more compelling and interesting than the one I had learned about in a white, middle class seminary. And it made a lot more sense. I began to see why Christianity had never really worked for me as a religion; it was meant to be a survival code for the poor and the marginalized, not a cloak of entitlement and sanctity for the privileged.
In Roxbury, we took communion every week. And every week the people led this central part of the service by saying, "On the night Jesus was betrayed, he offered bread to his beloved people, and said, take this and eat in remembrance of me. Now we remember all of those who are betrayed, who are hurt and killed as they stand for justice and stand with the poor and the marginalized. We eat this bread in honor of them all." And then people would call out the names of people, either people that they knew or Oscar Romero, Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King - all of those who had been martyred in their work for justice.
This sense of God as the unkillable spirit, despite all abuse and oppression and suffering, provided meaning and continuity in a community that could count on little of it. Easter, then, became the annual marking of the triumph of the oppressed, no matter how it might appear on the outside. No matter how mighty the powers against him, Jesus could not be killed. That fact - and it was a fact - held together the lives of people who struggled every day to roll boulders off of their own life force: boulders of racism, poverty, violence, addiction.
Ultimately, it was not in church or reading scripture that I witnessed and came to understand the resurrection. It was in the lives of the gathered people. These people, who had every reason to give up and live hopeless, bitter lives, instead tapped into the vein of life that has made 'a way out of no way' for oppressed people throughout the ages. The resurrection made itself visible to me in the lives of imperfect people struggling against all odds to live generous, meaningful lives, creating together a community of love and care and spiritual strength.
Until that time, it was as if Jesus was an uncle away in the army. I had never met him, but his picture was on the mantelpiece and people talked about him fondly. In Roxbury, I came to know the living Jesus. That lived experience has given me strength and comfort ever since, and makes the grandest field of daffodils seem tiny and dull in comparison

Meg Riley, Discovering a Living Resurrection

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