A Blessed Easter to Our Eastern Orthodox Sisters and Brothers

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FOSNA_LogoSource: Friends of Sabeel North America

Our warmest wishes and hopes for renewal go out to our Eastern Orthodox Christian friends who celebrate Easter on Sunday, May 1. The Eastern churches constitute the largest Christian community in Palestine, so on this day we hope and pray that God will renew your spirits with the liberating power of the “resurrected one.” May this week of focusing on Jesus and the meaning of his life and witness revive you for the long journey toward justice, even amid the unholy brutalities enacted by Israel in the land of our liberator’s birth.

Franciscan theologian and spiritual director Fr. Richard Rohr recently reminded us, in his daily meditation, that one dimension of the journey to the cross and empty tomb at Easter is how Jesus’ own suffering and innocent execution by the Romans is part of his identification with the poor and disenfranchised. Jesus’ Palm Sunday demonstration was an act of solidarity with the masses and a protest against the imperial power of Rome and its local collaborators in the Jerusalem Jewish religious establishment. Both Rome and the local collaborators were consumed with their own illusion of military power—corporate greed—believing that they could stamp out the power of Jesus’ simple message of compassion for the poor, his identification with the marginalized, and his vision for a movement that honored each person as an equal child of God. He reminded the powers that their reign was temporary; while brutal and capable of executing Jesus and others, military might could not silence this powerful grassroots movement for change. It is fitting that the powerful Roman Empire thereafter collapsed while the message of love, liberation, and life abundant lives on until present day.

The grassroots movement that began the first Easter Sunday is a reminder to us, whether or not we are Christian, that the principles of truth telling; sacrificial work for the poor and disenfranchised; and risking oneself to expose the false ideologies of militarism, corporate greed, and exclusivist ideologies like Zionism are important work. The “powers that be” will try to silence, murder, intimidate, and bully us in the public square, as did Rome and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. However, their assumptions of power are untrue—they are bankrupt and temporary.

Creative nonviolent resistance to the forces of injustice and the need to organize and work collectively for a new world—these are the values of Easter.

We invite you to join us in the coming months and years. We look toward the horizon for a transformative, life-giving, and abounding time of change, both in the United States and in the land of Jesus’ resurrection.

Happy Easter,

Don Wagner

Friends of Sabeel North America

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