A Quaker Easter Message

Following is an approximate transcription of the vocal ministry I offered during worship at Homewood Friends Meeting on “the day the world calls Easter,” 2010.

I’m experiencing the Resurrection story in a novel way this morning. Today, I am the earth, the place where events happen, the source of raw materials, the silent and seemingly powerless witness to human activity. I see the light of my life, the love of my heart, walking in human form upon my harsh surface. And I see human nature—which is my nature, too, for I am humus—rise up and seize him. And then, using my tree and my ore and my stone, human nature crucifies him. And I tremble as I see this, as I watch him die.

Still trembling, I watch it take him down from the cross, drag him into one of my empty places, and seal the opening with a stone. I tremble so violently that I am quaking. But soon my shaking breaks loose the stone, which shatters as it falls. And I see then that as a result of my quaking, of my reaction to the horrors of the dark side of human nature, I have made of his tomb a womb, releasing his spirit into the world.

2 thoughts on “A Quaker Easter Message

  1. This speaks profoundly to me. It has helped me focus my scattered and shallow attention this Easter season. My reaction to the Easter story is complex. I am disgusted and horrified by the story and by how it has been manipulated, marketed, and corrupted. I am put off by the sanctification of a brutal act of oppression repeated a million times in a million places, while simultaneously aware and thankful for the use of the story as inspiration for a theology of liberation. I am a non-theist, a Pagan, and a Quaker but I am still culturally Christian. This story means nothing and everything to me. I have dismissed it and live deeply within it dying and rising again in it whether I want to or not.

  2. Twenty-two years ago, I wrote up my analysis of what was behind the Easter story (made into a blog post here), dismissing the idea of its being historical and focusing on its status as text-begotten text. I haven’t changed my conclusion that the story is myth. And yet now as then it speaks to me on the spiritual level, as the expression of a hope, not that I might live forever, but that, as the primitive Quakers might have put it, the spirit of love and justice might be raised in me despite my inclination to trample or even crucify that spirit.

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