Two of my closest buddies are Episcopal monks.
I do know. This seems like the start of a joke. “Two priests and a rabbi walk into a bar…”
Besides it isn’t.
For a number of years, at this season, we have now used these phrases to want one another properly.
The rabbi: “May Christ rise for you.”
The Episcopal monks: “May you get out of Egypt.”
A few of you is perhaps confused, and even offended, that I might use such theologically weighty language at this season to affirm a spiritual fact that’s positively not my very own.
What do I imply once I say this?
I’m actually not actually affirming the fact of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. If I believed that to be true, I might most definitely have a distinct type of clergy place.
I’m saying one thing deeper, I believe, one thing that has its resonances with what Christian theologians are already saying.
Try Nicholas Kristof’s current interview with Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary, within the New York Occasions. Jones advised Kristof:
There’s no resurrection story in Mark, simply an empty tomb. Those that declare to know whether or not or not it occurred are kidding themselves. However that vacant tomb symbolizes that the final word love in our lives can’t be crucified and killed. … For me, the message of Easter is that love is stronger than life or loss of life. That’s a way more superior declare than that they put Jesus within the tomb and three days later he wasn’t there. For Christians for whom the bodily resurrection turns into a type of obsession, that appears to me to be a fairly wobbly religion. What if tomorrow somebody discovered the physique of Jesus nonetheless within the tomb? Would that then imply that Christianity was a lie? No, religion is stronger than that.
I get it. It’s not my story, however I get it.
Christians with a extra conventional theology will likely disagree with Serene Jones and, in fact, with me.
For me, resurrection is a strong metaphor of the victory of life over loss of life; hope over despair; compassion over cynicism and callousness.
Pious (and never so pious) Jews additionally imagine in an final resurrection of the useless — techiyat ha-meitim — in messianic occasions, on the finish of historical past. You’re free to imagine that or disbelieve that (I’m personally agnostic on the topic), however the lesson remains to be there.
Loss of life can’t be essentially the most highly effective factor in existence. If it have been, we’d worship loss of life.
Likewise, my Christian buddies and colleagues, who want me: “May you get out of Egypt.”
We’re buying and selling metaphors with one another; two religions taking part in theological tennis over the web of our disparate histories and experiences.
They sense what it means to get out of Egypt — each in a nationwide sense and, additionally, in a private sense. That’s their want for me. Once more, hope over despair.
At this season of hope, it’s the least we are able to do — toss these ideas at one another like bouquets.
Which makes the occasions in Sri Lanka all that a lot tougher for me to digest.
Like matzah and horseradish which have gone down the improper approach, I choke on the information reviews of coordinated terror killings, claiming greater than 200 lives. Having simply seen the movie “Hotel Mumbai,” the fact of coordinated terror was all too actual for me.
The eyewitnesses stated, “It was a river of blood” — far, far too resonant with the primary plague of the Passover seder, the Nile turning to blood.
Likewise, the 10th plague: What number of first-borns have been killed in Sri Lanka?
It was not Easter in Sri Lanka.
It was one more Good Friday, this time, with not one man useless, awaiting resurrection, however with tons of useless, tons of maimed and wounded — every one, maybe, uttering the very Jewish cry of Jesus on the cross: “O God, O God, why have you forgotten me?”
Inside one 12 months, the three Abrahamic religions have suffered violent assaults.
- The murders in Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh (notice to self: what might it have been like for the relations of the murdered to have sat down at seder — with the empty chairs gazing them? I can’t think about. I can’t think about.)
- Weeks in the past, the murders within the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
And now, the murders in Sri Lanka.
Add to that, in fact, the devastating fires at Notre Dame this previous week.
These twin horrors (let me be clear: one unintentional; considered one of human creation) have been frontal physique blows to the physique of Christ.
Like many, I lack the phrases, which is suitable. Silence in the home of mourning is a worthy response.
My arms attain out to my Christian buddies, neighbors, colleagues, and family.
What I say to you is what I say to my two Episcopal buddies.
Might Christ rise for you.
And — as we sing within the youngsters’s Passover tune Had Gadya — could God sometime come and defeat the Angel of Loss of life.