Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


OPINIONS

Justifying revenge is unjustifiable

Lacking coverage

It's foreign policy

Not enough Intini at Western

God does love everyone

Forward is a good thing

More than just a symbolic figure

Vandals

Hipsters Ave. providing avenues for tolerance

Not picking on pros

Love sinner, hate sin

More than just a symbolic figure



Re: Easter



To the Editor:

At this time of the year, when not writing term papers, Christians recall their Good Friday and Easter traditions. We recall our traditional story of the death of a good man, Jesus, whose teachings about love were misunderstood and repudiated by his enemies who had him killed. We recall our traditional story of Jesus rising from the dead. This is called the resurrection. It is the perfect symbol of hope in the midst of despair, new possibilities coming from failure.

Everything I have just written is a lie. No one who was close to Jesus ever said these kinds of things about him. Jesus spoke of love, but he also gave severe warnings to those who treated the ill arrogantly, who placed impossible burdens on their neighbours or who peddled political and religious corruption. It was not his teachings about love that got him killed, but, among other things, his denouncing of those who were corrupt. They did not misunderstand him but understood him very well.

And no one close to Jesus ever said that his rising from the dead was a symbol of hope in a time of despair. Some thought it was a disgusting fraud that should be squelched, the sooner the better (Mt. 28:13, Acts 8 and 9:1-2; I'm including here a few references from the anthology of writings about Jesus – 27 works). At least one refused to believe it until he had seen some evidence (Jn. 20:25). He, Thomas (from whom we get the expression "doubting Thomas") joined those who became convinced that Jesus had in fact risen.

Those close to Jesus did not see him as a symbol but as a resurrected person. They would have considered any discussion of Jesus as a symbol as inane and uninformed, and if informed, wicked.

The stories of those who saw Jesus after he had been executed are not the stories of those who saw something because they longed to see it, or those who were feeling guilty about having killed him or his followers. Those who saw were not in a mystical or guilt-induced state. They were taken by surprise, at first merely looking for his corpse (Mk. 16:8, Mt. 28, Lk. 24:30-39, Jn. 20). They saw as we ordinarily see (same, also Acts 1:3, 9:3, 2 Pet. 1:16, 1 Cor. 15:3-8). And they began a tradition of telling us about him as we ordinarily tell stories, speaking and writing in the ordinary language of the people of their time. This is why, today, the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection continues to be translated into more languages than ever.

Mike Veenema
UWO Chaplain


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Copyright The Gazette 1999