“Jesus held uncomplaining guard over the world,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy.
In an era of intense clannishness, Jesus steadfastly promoted universal and impartial love and respect. He ministered to Jew and Samaritan, to Romans and other gentiles, to male and female, to child and aged and in between, to rich and poor, to honest and dishonest, to soldier and civilian, to in-groups and out-groups, to rulers and slaves.
The categories that divide mankind made no difference to Jesus. His mission was not only for all peoples but for all time. “Before Abraham was, I am,” he said. Perhaps he named a future leader and said, “After Putin is, I am,” but no one understood what he said so it didn’t get written down.
In a society that operated on an “us and them” ethic, Jesus saw only us. He taught his followers that they should see the least respected in society in the same way that they saw him. This included the poor, naked, and hungry, the imprisoned and outcast, but also the Roman oppressors, the wealthy tax collectors, and ruling Sanhedrin members. He showed impartial love to all, and he healed any who were willing to put themselves in his care.
HEAVEN ON EARTH
Jesus showed humanity a vision of what heaven was like, right here on earth. He identified no place as his home, but heaven itself.
Jesus’ love included the willingness to rebuke wrongdoing as he saw it in rich and poor alike. His refusal to play partisan politics evoked confusion, fear, anger, resentment, and finally intense hatred on the part of a few. Jesus knew this but it didn’t stop him from acting authentically, preaching his message and healing the sick.
The Bible mentions this telling event, “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;” He stayed hidden in plain sight and continued his work of healing “them all.”
LION AND LAMB
When the time was right, this lamb of God walked right into the lion’s mouth to prove once and for all that “we” triumphs over “them and us.” He let them try to destroy him and his message in order to prove that “they” could not actually destroy one tiny element of “we.”
The torture and sham trial of this just man, and his death on the cross, only extended and promoted his impartial message of love and his universal healing work. His resurrection showed that in God, “we” triumphs. And Christ is still holding uncomplaining guard over the world. After he arose from the dead, Jesus told his disciples, “lo, I am with you always, even unto the ends of the earth.”
CHRIST SHINES LIKE RAYS OF LIGHT IN THE DARK
Christ continues with us, always and in all ways. In the dark times, we especially need to know we are not alone. But the resurrection shows that light chases away darkness. Here’s an interesting analogy from the miscellany of Mary Baker Eddy,
“If we say that the sun stands for God, then all his rays collectively stand for Christ, and each separate ray for men and women.”
Christ is the universal “we” of God’s children. When we do as Jesus showed us, and the Christ in us sees the Christ in others, divisions fall and fear melts away. Humanity stripped of its titles, stories, class, and colors shows that we are essentially the same.
We all hunger and thirst, love and aspire, and each of us has our part to play in holding guard over the world. When we see injustice, war, corruption, greed, pollution, lack–we can know that our prayers to uplift humanity join with the prayers of Christ to bring light to the darkness. With Christ, we are never alone. There are countless rays of light shining and the darkness cannot overwhelm them.
To persist in thinking “we” when “us and them” divisions stridently insist, is neither wishful thinking nor naivety. It is sound judgment, solid wisdom, and inevitable outcome. This is the message of Easter to me.