Easter arrived this morning with the usual flair: Easter eggs, bunnies, Easter lilies, sermons about resurrection, parents and their sometimes squirming children sitting through pageantry… all to the tune of events that happened about two thousand years ago.
Meanwhile, here in the South, lawns, leaves, redbud are all born again, to the tune of birds and the munching of does in our small, 28 acre, valley we named Emerald Dawn when we moved here from Joelton, Tennessee, in 1980.
Back when humankind first became aware there sure seemed plenty worth worshiping: stars, the sun, the moon, the wind… as we tried to understand each many became polytheists, though one group of monotheists were the exception. They considered themselves chosen by their God.
Humans vied for divinity as well, which explains why slaves would willingly be buried alive with their deity rulers. It explained why Caligula: a Caesar far worse than the movie Gladiator paints him, could be so cruel, yet considered divine by some. “Gods” multiplied faster than rabbits.
Jesus was born when considering humans part God was not that unusual, there were magicians, others claiming to be the Messiah, and those folks claimed had performed miracles. There’s no doubt Jesus was a man of his time.
Yet Jesus was far more, for he out lasted them all, and lasted into a time where a man performing such miracles, returning after his death, is so much more unusual: not as much a part of more recent mythology. His ministry spread beyond Constantine and the Empire, beyond what became known as “the Church,” beyond any single denomination.
The power of the martyr can’t be ignored. The movie quote rings true: martyrs often do become more powerful than those who strike them down.
One wonders what any of them might think if they returned to Earth, even Jesus, and saw all the different ways their lives were re-imagined, recast, re-framed. I’m sure it would be an odd mix of pleasure, sadness and outright horror.
Though humans do have an incredible talent for using anything, no matter how good, for evil, no matter what you believe there is little doubt Jesus changed the world even more than spring brings new life out of winter.
For all the good done in his name, tis something to celebrate.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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