Afternoon! This week’s reflection comes from Andrew…
It’s been said that this world is a tough place to live.
And parts of it certainly are. Places like Antarctica with it’s frigid cold; the top of mountains with their thin air; deserts with their lack of water and vegetation; the oceans with their tidal waves, hurricanes, etc. – places like these are pretty inhospitable to human life.
But it’s not just these sorts of extreme places that are hard to live in. The regular parts of the world are tough too. We learn this as children. We start learn to walk and right way what happens? We trip and fall over.
Yet, God created this world and God said it was good when S/He created the oceans and the land, and all the rocks and creatures in it and God hopes we’ll love it, care for it, and think it’s good too!
But what God didn’t create and what God doesn’t love is the ways that we tend to run our societies. God doesn’t love it that we’ve created a world where we live by the law of the jungle, where “might makes right,” where we compete and hoard, where powers and domination systems place the overwhelming majority of humanity into abject poverty and misery
The first major, massive scale, instance of this kind of human created system of power and might was the world’s first territorial empire, the Roman Empire. Rome conquered many nations through the means of military, political, economic, and ideological exploitation and domination.
the Roman “Emperor Cult” was born which was the heart and soul of the Roman Empire. It created a unifying ideology which asserted that Caesar was God, that he was Son of God, that he was Savior, Redeemer, and Lord! And Rome expected all of it’s subject nations to call him those things too, until Jesus came along that is…
the way that Jesus taught was that of out-right, defiance and rejection of any powers that be, any powers or principalities that dare to usurp God’s power in God’s world.
And then, …”the Empire struck back.” The domination system conspired against Him and it meted out the worst it could do. It had Him arrested, beaten, and executed. One thing the Powers That Be can’t tolerate is being rejected and so they rejected Him! They killed Him. As they say in Communist China, “the nail that rises up gets hammered back down.” Take that! End of story. And with that, Jesus’ disciples (at least the men) hid away in fear.
Some contend that God doesn’t really intervene in the world in ways that violate the laws of physics such as literally resuscitating bodies back to life or rolling away heavy stones from tombs. Such persons can still celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as a human-made act of civil disobedience and resistance against Empire. By continuing to follow a peasant who’d been crucified on a garbage heap and claim that his teachings and Way are true and that the Empire’s ways aren’t. Collectively saying that “Jesus lives!” and that “Jesus is Lord – and Caesar isn’t!” – and that following Jesus’ Way is what provides assurance, wholeness, peace, and salvation – not Rome’s – is a resurrection. It’s an Insurrection of a Resurrection.
What thoughts if any do you have after reading this?
Does Jesus’ way of Love make much sense in today’s world?
How would a kind of “suffering servanthood” make a difference or transform our world of new empires and huge and powerful systems and institutions?