As but a nominal Christian (baptismal waters are not easily rinsed away), I am confounded by all religious matters from Abrahamic to Zoroastrianism. Easter celebrations are especially mysterious to me with its veering wildly from pain and suffering to rapturous joy, all in a three day period. Not to mention the naked appropriation of earlier pagan seasonal festivities. I mean, I get the chocolate and the breaking of Lent but bunnies? Really? There wasn’t another symbol you could’ve used? Like a finger or cross? Or just stuck with a chocolate covered communion wafer. Why does it have to be all so, I don’t know, territorial?
The bigger conundrum for me of this holiest of holies for Christians is the strain of anti-Semitism that arises from it in some of the faith’s followers. ‘Christ Killers’ is a term of opprobrium directed at Jews for their part in the death of Jesus. Now, OK. If you’re going to go around pointing the finger of blame at people for the incident, isn’t there plenty of it to go around? Sure, the Pharisees might’ve had a hand in how things played out, resenting the uppity kid from Galilee’s self-righteous intrusion onto their terrain. But, come on. It was the Romans who actually did the deed, condemning him to death and fully committing to making it as horrific and grisly as possible. Pontius Pilate and all those in his tribe should not be let off the hook just because he washed his hands of the whole affair.More to the point, however, is the fact that anyone is blamed for the death of Jesus at all. I mean, isn’t that a critically important part of Christianity? Without dying – and the younger and more gruesome the better because, let’s face it, if Jesus passed away peacefully in his sleep at the ripe old age of 82, that whole dying for our sins loses a bit of its oomph – there can be no resurrection. And without His death and Resurrection, well, you got a religion lacking a central tenet, it seems to me. A whole lot of rules and regulations with no focus addressing the most vital issue at the heart of all religious belief: illuminating the meaning of life and the path we should take in order to live it both to the fullest and full of grace.
So rather than being reviled for their part in the death of Jesus, Jews and anyone else held responsible should be celebrated and honoured. At least, raise a toast to them over your Easter turkey (or whatever it is you’re supposed to eat at Easter) and give credit where credit’s due. For you to be Christian, Jesus had to die on the cross. If he hadn’t, he’s just another crazy guy, wandering around the desert, claiming to know the mind of God.