Richard Smith – Wembley Downs UCA, WA.
My Son asked: Why did you go to Church this Easter?
Good Friday from God’s Friday was a reminder about the Domination Systems of political power that amass wealth at the expense of the poor causing social distress, extreme environmental damage and climate chaos. Jesus is remembered because he pushed back against the Domination System of the Roman Empire which responded by having him publically tortured and killed, a warning to others, do not mess with the system. Modern Domination systems continue with modern weapons and cyber techniques as the normalcy of civilisation where violence in its many evolving forms is the human choice of resolving difference.
Jesus advocated for the Kingdom of God where everything to be shared, is shared equitably. Gospel or Good News for the poor, but warning to the rich to share their wealth and knowledge. This kingdom was named after God’s image because at Creation it was shared equally among all of humankind (Genesis 1:26), to be experienced as “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).
On Easter Sunday, the Resurrection is the metaphor that despite his untimely death Jesus’ advocacy of the Kingdom of God would live on and be vindicated. St Paul (AD 53-54) used the evolutionary concept of a seed being planted and dyeing before new life could emerge to offer the opportunity of an evolutionary step forward or alternatively extinction by a process of self-destruction (1 Cor. 15). The choice is ours to make or ignore, to live or to die, to plant and to harvest or create a dry desert.
Jesus’ advocacy has weaved its evolutionary way through history reducing violence and bringing the peace many enjoy today. The sharing of political power through representative democracy has brought peace and universal systems of welfare, education, health, child care and human rights. But the normalcy of civilisation continues with all the modern forms of rhetoric and force, to reassert its desire for Domination leaving many is distress.
The cycle of such violence in Jesus’ prayer is broken by practising justice, mutual forgiveness and resisting the use of violence (Matt 6 11-13). Violence creates more violence in an escalatory process which is the bible’s the earliest definition of Sin (Genesis 4.6-7). Thus Jesus dies not for our sins, but by dying for his advocacy he exposed the sin of humankind and revealed an alternative way of living for peace through non-violence.
Why then Church? Religion derives from the Latin word religo “Conscious concern for that which matters” for which the people have regularly gathered as the Synagogue, Ecclesia or Church. One concern of contemporary human consciousness is the social, environmental and economic sustainability of our world and our diminishing ability to hand it on to the next generation in a better condition than we found it.