Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Empty Tomb

Today is Easter Sunday, and I am going to preach at a local church. My plan is to share my new understanding of Good Friday with them (see the previous post, “A New View of Good Friday”) and then reinterpret Easter in light of it.

Good Friday, in my new reading, is the day God dies for His sins—the sin of creating a world filled with unnecessary suffering and where evil is perpetrated in His Name. God dies so that we cannot kill in His Name anymore.

On Easter we find the tomb of God empty. To me the tomb is for Christians what the Holy of Holies is for Jews, and the Ka’aba is for Muslims: an empty space speaking to the ineffability of God. In the Abrahamic religions God cannot be imaged, so of course their sacred space should be empty of images.

If God dies for His sins, the sins He commits by sanctioning evil in His Name, the only way He can express this is to step beyond Names and Naming—to become something that humans cannot use or manipulate to their own ends: the Tao that cannot be named.

The problem with Christianity is that Christians just can’t do away with images. So Jesus appears after the Resurrection. And even when he ascends to Heaven He promises to return—and this time as anything but the Prince of Peace. The Second Coming, the ultimate reinstitution of the Image of God is going to be the ultimate slaughter of those who worship a different Image of God. The Second Coming undoes Good Friday and makes a mockery of Easter Sunday. With the theology of the Second Coming God learns a harsh lesson: people want to slaughter one another, and if God Himself won’t condone it anymore, they will invent a new God who will.

The hate-filled blood spattered Jesus of Revelation is the hope of those who cannot follow God and atone for their sins. The God of Good Friday is sorry. The God of Easter Sunday is free. The God of the Second Coming is psycho.

So, if you buy my new reading of Good Friday and kill the Gods of hate at whose altars we humans have worshipped for millennia, and if you buy my new reading of Easter where the tomb is empty as a sign that we are free of Gods made in our own image and designed to sanction our own madness, what shall you do with this day?

My suggestion is simple: look deeply into your self, your family, your community, your nation, your faith, and free yourself of any image that sanctions evil, even and especially if it does so in the Name of God. If you wish to believe in God, fine, but believe in the God who is empty.

Easter is a holy day of hope, but let our hope not be in some coming horror. If we are to affirm hope, let us affirm hope in freedom, love, justice, and humility. Let us say, “The Lord is Risen and so is our Heart: risen beyond fear and hatred, beyond heaven and hell, beyond vindictive ideologies masquerading as Truth.” Anything less is just more of the same.

3 comments:

irreverance said...

Excellent reinterpretations of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I hope to see more posts like this.

Karen said...

Lovely. :)

Jason Gosnell said...

I always wonder...can anything be done to save Christianity?