Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Together is a good place to be!

By Rev. Jeanne Randall-Bodman, Pastor

April 6, 2023

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The Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama wrote about this this way:

“Jesus of Nazareth a man from Galilee was tortured and executed by Roman powers.  The Christian scriptures aren’t really sure about how to speak about what this means.  People speak about atonement theories,  There are at least 4, or 5 or 6 but certainly the actions of Jesus of Nazareth in going towards death are spoken of as a demonstration of love. But why or what it does do if anything is debatable. These days I tend to think of the crucifixion as an apocalypse, a pulling back of the curtain, showing us the predictable plots of empire.  Empire always seeks to dominate and murder for the sake of itself.  Whatever it needs, it takes, especially lives.  And then it tells lies about what it’s been doing.  Empire hides in subtle ways, empire gets other people to do its own work – divide and conquer...

The proclamation of Christ crucified is an accusation toward a dominant power, not an adoration of a torture device.   If the cross does anything it show you that Empire will always go in one way and that the witness of this strange man from Nazareth was to resist empire with love, even if it kills you.

The word repentance is, at the heart of it, the call of Jesus of Nazareth in the gospels to anybody who’s listening, to change the way you act in the world, to change the way that you use your own power. To become in a certain sense a demonstrator of the power of love, the power of inclusion, the power of listening to people on the margins, the power of not believing lies that pretend empire is not exploiting people.” *

This is the invitation of following in the way of Jesus, that we too, in the face of power, can show love.  Because love is stronger than death.

And this is what it means to follow a risen savior.

To know and believe, and to act on the belief, that love is stronger than death.

Despite the workings of empire and all the misuses of power so evident on every side, we hold fast to the belief that love is stronger still and shape our lives to participate in that love wherever and however we can. 

Alleluia!  Christ is indeed risen.

Pádraig Ó Tuama, “Stations of the Cross: A Reflection for Good Friday 2020,” YouTube

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash