“I have decided to stick with love, hate is too much of a burden to bear.” MLK
I recently baptized a Muslim in the United Methodist church I pastor, she was raised in Africa by a Muslim family and I asked her to share with us what the Muslims in her country were raised to believe about Christ, because I knew the story to be full of hope for us all. She said, the mother of five children, that they were raised to believe that Christ was the great prophet who granted eternal life, a partner of Mohammed, who died and was resurrected. She said they were taught to pray to be like Christ in life and in death. She shared that they all thought of Muslims and Christians as partners on the faith journey, two parts of a whole, they lived in peace together.
This week, many of us walk the Easter journey. I recommend taking the Easter challenge whether you are Christian or not. Many Buddhists, Muslims and people of other persuasions will readily speak of Christ consciousness as a vital source of peace in our time, it’s true. Precisely because each day, we have a choice as to what difference we will feed into the world. We participate in the collective consciousness simply because we are human. We are connected to one another through this basic truth, and to all creation, too. We all breathe the same air, recycled in the biosphere, earth, the same air as Hitler breathed, the same air as Trump, Jesus and Ghandi, too; the same air as the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger and the Mountain Gorillas. All connected in this beautiful planet earth from which we came and to which we will all return, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. What we breathe into the air matters, our words matter, as does our prayer, our meditative silence, our mindful observations, our expressions, our intentions.
From Easter we learn how very critical and fragile this connection is and what happens when we deny it. Judas failed to realize he was connected to Jesus until after his deadly act of betrayal. In betraying Jesus he came to realize he had betrayed his very own heart, and overwhelmed with the emotions of hatred, he took his own life. He failed to realize this basic truth, that we are one because God made us human, he opted out of the oneness plan. And in doing so, the real victim was himself. It’s strange, in his betrayal of another person, though he made money off the deal, he was the one who ended up paying.
Easter tells us of a different reality. While Judas invokes the dictator and is overcome by death, Jesus resurrects life from death itself, as surely as the buds of spring.
The poet W.H. Auden said, “We must love one another or die.”(Sept. 1, 1939)
Whether we realize it or not, we have the power to make a difference in the world each day. We can choose the energy of the dictator, to be motivated by fear, hatred and greed or we can choose to love one another. We can extract love from the deathliness around us, it is called resurrection, it is the gift of Christ. It’s a paradox, that loving others would save us, but it’s true. Every day is an opportunity for resurrection, as the old adage goes, be the change you hope to see in the world, take the Easter challenge while you are yet alive.