As we approach Easter – for most people just a long weekend when they can regroup and rest – for some people the spiritual highlight of the year – we can often forget, when contemplating his deeper spiritual messages and the agony of his personal journey, that the historical Jesus Christ was a dangerous man who subverted the ruling status quo in his country, and that, above all, is why he was put to death.

This Facebook meme reminded me.

 

banker

 

As we approach Easter, we should dwell on the fact that Jesus fought against the institutionalisation of religion, fought against its co-option as a business enterprise, and talked of how the Kingdom of Heaven resided in all of us, and not in buildings, if we could but find the key.

He also detested the brutalisation of society by economic forces, and the obsession with accumulating personal wealth and how it diverts us from what really matters.

But in cleansing the temple, Jesus did not argue against public worship. Quite the opposite. He wanted the Temple reserved for its rightful use.

And worship definitely serves many valuable purposes, not least sharing information and insights on complicated spiritual matters, building community, showing spiritual respect, and bringing peace and joy to people.

But he did argue against hypocrisy. When religion is reduced to mere pomp and circumstance, or when it mindlessly supports the bastions of conformity, he was on the other side of the metaphorical barricade.

He told us to become like little children in our understand of the world and our role in it, and in relation to what we perceive as God. Simplicity, innocence and trust. And a trenchant opposition to anything which reduces the world to a mere monetary exchange.

Jesus the Revolutionary. Coming soon to a Church near you. We hope.

Happy Easter.

 

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Comments
  1. Miles says:

    Being like children is more than simplicity, innocence and trust in my mind. It’s an exhortation to question “why?”, to understand the meaning of things, to wonder why things are they way they are, without the bias of adult assumptions and rationality. As we grow older we risk losing our imagination, to envision things different to how they are now.

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  2. Pat A says:

    Love the article Yolly – I wish I could give you more than five stars for this – I agree with every word!

    I think that there are a couple of things that Jesus said that anyone can base their own life on –

    a) ‘love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind and the second is like unto this – love your neighbour as yourself. In this lies all the law and the prophets’ Matthew 22 35 -40.

    b) Matthew 25: 31-end which talks about how if we care for the sick, the lonely, the hungry, the imprisoned, we are caring for Jesus – and how if we ignore them and/or mistreat them we are ignoring and mistreating Jesus and will be judged accordingly (Right Wingers please note – not that they would be reading this – there are severe warnings for you). At verse 40 “Truly even as you treated the least of these, you so treated me”.

    I don’t think we need dogma or formal religion if we can really read what Jesus said – and try and do as he asked.

    Jesus was indeed a revolutionary – which is why the Catholic church didn’t want the Bible translated into anyone’s own language but wanted it to stay in Latin for so very very long (thank goodness they’ve changed) – and I loved the cartoon, though I don’t think he’d get away without at least a court appearance these days!

    Jesus also called hypocrites ‘whited sepulchres’ – which is pretty strong – it referred to the local burial custom at his time of putting people’s corpses to decompose in tombs which were painted white (then later their bones were gathered by relatives and put into a ossuary or bone box)….. but to be called a whited sepulchre meant basically that you looked alright on the outside but were a mass or rot and corruption inside. Yikes.

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  3. Woody says:

    I find Jesus so confusing.
    For many reasons, including those already mentioned, his words are a relief after the monstrous commands of the old testament. But let’s not forget, more than once, Jesus insists that the laws of the old testament must not be forgotten, until the end of time.
    Like I commented on the ‘Atheist Nerd Girl’ blog recently, I’ve been happily surprised and foully disappointed by different words that are attributed to Jesus.

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    • I think there are some things we will always struggle to understand. Clearly some parts of the Old Testament are nonsense. Equally we don’t necessarily receive Jesus’s words with perfect accuracy, and equally we don’t receive their context. Did Jesus mean that the OT was to be followed slavishly – in which case the contradictions in it make this hard – or that it contains “truths” we need to know. It’s impossible to know. You could try asking him, Woody.

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