We tend to consider the crucifixion, the resurrection, and Pentecost in two ways primarily. We see them as history, stories about things that happened a long time ago. Or we consider them through theologies about what they mean for us after we die.
Yet, there is a deeper reality to all of them. The cross, the empty tomb, the moment of divine inspiration are repeated every day and everywhere. They’re ongoing and participatory.
Many experience those moments of inspiration each day. They’re moved to help someone who is hurting, inspired to care for those who are struggling, emboldened to try to change their world in some way. They sense something divine in the small moments of life. They stand up for anyone who is being treated as less than an equal child of God. They see love at work all around them.
Spirit-filled moments happen every day.
So do moments of crucifixion.
Anyone who tries to change the world experiences crucifixion in some way. There’s always a pushback against those who try to make their societies more compassionate, their countries more peaceful, their religions more tolerant. Those who advocate compassion and cooperation will cross paths with those who prefer hatred and violence, and they will invariably end up bleeding. They may not necessarily lose their lives, but they may lose their popularity, their friends, their security. There is a cost involved, a price to be paid for progress. And they pay it.
Moments of crucifixion happen every day.
So do moments of resurrection.
Every act of love is an act of resurrection. Every act of kindness is an act of resurrection. Every embrace is a moment of life renewed and celebrated. Hope, patience, forgiveness, inclusiveness, sharing — those are the heartbeat of the resurrected world.
Sometimes it feels like those who live by power, privilege, violence and greed have the upper hand. It appears they can use their weapons or their clout to wound the spirit of love. They think they can confine that spirit to a burial cloth and consign it to the cold darkness of a tomb. They roll a stone in front of the tomb’s entrance and decide their victory is complete.
But as they walk away, they glance back over their shoulder and get a surprise. The stone has already been rolled away. The tomb is empty.
Again. And always.
Joe Kay is a professional writer living in the Midwest.
Image: Pentecost illustration, Molodec / Shutterstock.com