Easter meanings change through time
Palm Sunday will find me back in an adult Sunday school class, after having taught the class of my 12-year-old son Gideon for the past several months.
I hope Gideon will remain respectful of those with differing views of Jesus Christ (whether they regard him as A prophet but not THE Prophet, a nice Jewish boy with a Messiah complex, a wise non-divine teacher whose followers got carried away, a complete fabrication or whatever), but without apologizing for his core beliefs.
In other words, he shouldn’t be “in your face” but should also avoid a wimpy proclamation of “He is risen, he is risen with an asterisk.”
An increasingly irreligious world that gets its view of the Son of God from sensationalized documentaries and TV musicals will stray further and further from the truth. Someday when he’s teaching Sunday school for my hypothetical grandchildren, I hope Gideon will be able to overcome increasingly muddled legends, factoids and agendas about Jesus and Easter.
For example, it’s OK to point out that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. It is historically inaccurate to say that he told her, “With the free version, the demons still tag along to the mall with you and your friends. Now, if you want to upgrade to the Premium exorcism…”
The people of Flint, Michigan did not tell Jesus, “Forget wine! Turn the stuff coming out of our faucets into water!”
Jesus’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem did not involve looking at the throng of well-wishers and muttering, “Ooo, I’d like to smite that guy on both cheeks!”
The apostles did not launch a media blitz specifically trumpeting the inclusion of the first plus-size models in the Book of Life.
The words “Last Supper” and “all-day breakfast menu” appear together in absolutely no early church writings that survive.
No matter what your friends tell you, there was no Jumbotron available when Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. And there was no advertising slogan that began “Every kiss begins with 30 pieces of silver.”
Peter’s triple denial of Christ had absolutely nothing to do with whether the crowing cock was raised in a cage. Likewise, it is not true that Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was that no one would find out that the garden was GMO.
Contrary to popular belief, the crown of thorns Jesus was subjected to at the Crucifixion did not include a beer dispenser.
Early Christians thought of Jesus as the Fountain of Life rather than the Streaming Media of Life.
The angel proclaiming the Good News at the Empty Tomb was distinguished by white garments, not White Privilege.
In the future, people will probably lose interest in carbon dating the Shroud of Turin and will instead concentrate on whether it was moisture-wicking and whether any “wardrobe malfunctions” ever occurred with it.
Jesus’s Ascension into heaven should not be trivialized as his partaking in “cloud storage.”
Alas, even the secular aspects of Easter will be under fire 25 or so years from now. GPS will make a mockery of Easter egg hunts, candy will be made of solar photons instead of sugar and old-timers will talk about 2016 as the Bad Old Days.
“Can you believe there used to be a time when rabbits didn’t get to vote? Hey, let’s swing by the rabbit cemetery and resurrect Congressman Smith’s chances of getting reelected…”