By Bernie Bell
The person reading this may be Christian, and may celebrate Easter – or not. Either way, the story of what happened leading up to and at Easter, all those years ago, got me thinking. Easter is a celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, after being treated horribly, and then crucified. This is part of the ‘bigger picture’ of the story of Christ and how his life, suffering, death and return to life, can be seen to reflect in our own lives, and, thereby, can maybe give us some encouragement about how to deal with what life throws at us. A person can consider this story from a Christian viewpoint, or as a member of another faith, or have no ‘faith’, at all.
The image is of a card by Greg Hyde – title ‘The Surprised Atheist’/
The story can help us to possibly see ways of dealing with our lives, including acceptance. In certain situations, some folk might think “What would The Queen do?” or, “What would Gandhi do?” or even “What would Delia Smith do?!” Or …..what would Jesus do? And what did Jesus do? He accepted his life, and what he was here to do. Or, as far as we can tell, he did!
And so I come back to the Jesus story at Easter. He had to die, to rise again, and his death involved a number of people who have been ‘blamed’, down the ages.
Pontius Pilate could have let him go free, but the crowd roared ”Crucify him” – they wanted a show, a public spectacle. Each one in that crowd, could have used their free will, their individual choice, to step back from the mindless baying. But they didn’t – which was their choice. Free Will – matters – it’s what the Adam and Eve story is about. Pontius Pilate could have refused to go along with what was happening, and that would have been the end of his career, and he might have been replaced by someone with less compassion. And, there was the behaviour of Judas and Peter.
Those terrible events had to happen, for the whole story to unfold. I wonder is it ‘wrong’ to pour such blame on Judas – he had to play his part, and also ‘wrong’ to pour blame on Peter, he had to play his part? It could be said, that either of those men, could have chosen not to take the actions which they did – but – they had to take the parts, which they were given, in the un-folding of what was happening. Someone had to hand Jesus over to the authorities, or the story could not have unfolded – that someone, was Judas, that was his role. If Peter had acknowledged Jesus, he might have been taken and imprisoned, or killed, as well, and then, the Disciples would have lacked a leader, and goodness me, they needed leadership!
Jesus accepted his role here on earth, including that terrible way to die. He was a ‘thorn in the side’ to the authorities, from when he started on his ………mission.
It’s hard to blame Judas, it’s hard, to blame Peter, they had to play their parts, someone had to, and they were chosen. In a way, it was an honour for them, to be chosen to play such significant parts. Jesus offered himself up as a sacrifice, and so did they, in their own way.
When evidence is discovered of ancient peoples sacrificing fellow human beings – yes, sometimes they were mistakenly thinking that this would pacify their gods ( what kind of God, asks for that?), but, sometimes, I believe that those people who were sacrificed, gave themselves, willingly, to help their fellow human beings, to avert possible catastrophe. It’s not always such a simple case of, what looks like a ‘bad’ thing, being a ‘bad’ thing. Sometimes, sacrifices, have to be made, for the over-all good. To quote Mr. Spock on Star Trek – “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.” Jesus, of course, knew full well the need for what he was doing, and what was happening to him. Maybe Judas and Peter were aware of the part that they were playing, too.
All of these individuals could have made different choices, including Jesus – the film ‘the last Temptation of Christ’ expresses this idea very strongly. But, if they had done so, that particular story could not have unfolded and all that is based on it, could not have developed. So, what I’m thinking is – in that story, who can be ‘blamed’? as they each had to play their part, for it all to happen, and the messages – positive messages – which were to get across to humanity, would not have been presented in such a powerful, striking way, possibly including the message that it’s not always a good idea to lay blame on someone – ask yourself – “What would I have done?”
The story of Jesus, needed to unfold, as our individual stories, need to unfold – is there much point in blaming others, for the parts they play? Each thing that happens, is what has to happen, at that time or something else would have happened. It’s looking at it all – the bigger picture – and learning from it as much as we can, that matters.
I see the story of Jesus, as having meaning, at every point, that’s why it exists, that’s why it happened. Each part of it, tells us something, gives us a message, if we pay attention. It’s something I go on about – people paying attention, in every aspect of life. Un-fortunately, often, we don’t do so, as much as we should – or could.
And as for Jesus himself, as a person, a man, who had choices to make – here’s my view, as briefly as possible. Part of the Jesus story is to try to get people to realise and accept that ‘God’ is everywhere, and in everything, as in God is everywhere and everything. Jesus was God and Man, because we all are. We are all ‘The Son of God’. Heaven and Hell is in ourselves, and we make our own heaven and hell by how we live and what we do. Reading the New Testament, shows that Jesus is very much a ‘good egg’, if we’d just pay attention to what he says!!!!!!!
Easter is meant to be a happy time, which marks a wonderful action, by a wonderful ‘man’ – Jesus Christ. He was put on this earth, with a job to do, and, however un-comfortable it became for him, he did that job. That’s one of the lessons I take from him – to do what I can, and just get on with it! We each have our job to do – some know what it is, some think they know what it is, and some….unfortunately, are confused and …..have no idea what they’re doing!
Friend Gloria – Gloria Wallington/O’Shea – a well–known local artist, and I were discussing the story of Jesus, and how he is so often shown as serious – gentle, loving, but oh so serious. So, Gloria painted a picture of Jesus, laughing, and sent it to me via email
I think it definitely catches a strong sense of humour, and a strong man. I can envisage the man in this painting, enjoying his dinner, laughing, teasing, and generally, being human. The idea is very much one of lightness of being and energy and freedom. Not impressions usually linked to Jesus, but, why not? That’s the whole idea, isn’t it?
A tremendous feeling of strength and energy, expressed through laughter. The idea connects with the laughing Buddha, just sheer joy in living. I suppose that may be part of it too, the ‘God’ part of Jesus, the essential spirit part, must have felt wonderful, experiencing the feeling of having a body. Spirit manifests by being in a body, the human bodies are needed for spirit to manifest – to build, to paint, to write, to live – all expressions of spirit. Jesus is very much of this earth, and of Spirit, as are we.
Those are my Easter musings – make of them what you will.
And, finally a different kind of Easter image – the first daffodil to flower in our garden – new life after the ‘death’ of winter.