It’s not like Jesus was trying to create Easter. That was Paul’s idea and the two never met, living a generation apart. Which is probably a good thing, since I suspect they would not have discovered the kind of love found among kin or drinking buddies. Or, perhaps, I am underestimating.
Paul came from the mold that produced and upheld foundational thinking. The kind of ideas and designs that someday become the scaffolding for institutions, establishments and bureaucracies. Places which eventually become ‘the system’ or ‘the structure’ that people look up to. The kind of places that build themselves up so high they can look down on all the people.
Jesus, on the other hand, lived inside hearts and minds that understood pain. He knew the weight of disregard, contempt, oppression and shame that had become yoked to people’s souls. He understood that such hierarchical thinking was one way of arranging society, based on power, in order that some would be owners and some would be dreamers. And between the two were endless sets of barriers, boundaries and limits.
He also knew there was one thing – one idea – that had more power than all the rules and layers of bureaucracy that humanity could assemble. And that was Love. Love that people longed for. Love that people longed to give. Love that could inexplicably stretch beyond self interest. Beyond the familial. Love that could span the distance to bind us to strangers. To join us with our enemies. Love that could remove all the lynchpins of power holding hierarchy in place.
Paul had an agenda. As did Pilate and the Romans. As did Herod and the Sanhedrin. As did Peter and the disciples. All their agendas were slightly different and somewhat the same: to summon what power they could that allowed for a re-ordering of society and setting of new limits.
Jesus had an agenda as well: to Love beyond limits.
Where these agendas came together in a point of singularity there was a vision collision. And it appeared, at least at the time, that power prevailed. But a seed was planted. A seed which has taken root and which will not forever be kept under foot. A seed which peaks through the veil of despair. A seed which contains the truth we’ve all been longing to know and who’s power is constantly underestimated. There is a way to Love beyond limits.
By Jim Harrison
On Easter morning all over America
the peasants are frying potatoes in bacon grease.
We’re not supposed to have “peasants”
but there are tens of millions of them
frying potatoes on Easter morning,
cheap and delicious with catsup.
If Jesus were here this morning he might
be eating fried potatoes with my friend
who has a ’51 Dodge and a ’72 Pontiac.
When his kids ask why they don’t have
a new car he says, “these cars were new once
and now they are experienced.”
He can fix anything and when rich folks
call to get a toilet repaired he pauses
extra hours so that they can further
learn what we’re made of.
I told him that in Mexico the poor say
that when there’s lightning the rich
think that God is taking their picture.
Like peasants everywhere in the history
of the world ours can’t figure out why
they’re getting poorer. Their sons join
the army to get work being shot at.
Your ideals are invisible clouds
so try not to suffocate the poor,
the peasants, with your sympathies.
They know that you’re staring at them.