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Home » Keeping the faith: The Resurrection story offers hope for today's afflicted – The Columbus Dispatch

Keeping the faith: The Resurrection story offers hope for today's afflicted – The Columbus Dispatch

We just recently concluded the season of Lent. During this time, some invoked themes of penitence, mourning, suffering, and darkness. We recognized that we are but filthy sinners, lost in a cold, dark world, in need of saving grace.
This view of Lent raises some important questions for me. Is this perspective helpful for folks who are systematically oppressed? Can we expect someone to enter a “season of mourning” if their entire life has been filled with pain and sorrow? How useful is it for someone to confess for 40 days that they are filthy, vile, disgusting sinners when they have parents, family, church members, and even strangers tell them this all year round?
Even though Lent concluded with the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, what might that mean for the marginalized?
The oppressed can certainly relate to Jesus’ suffering, betrayal, and public humiliation.
Jesus dedicated his life to meeting people’s needs and dismantling systems that oppress. He had a group of close friends who helped him do this work. They lived together, traveled together, slept together, and broke bread together. This group of friends was there for him, especially since religious and political leaders sought to destroy him.
Knowing that his life was in danger, Jesus retreated to prayer. Distraught and in tremendous pain, Jesus asked his friends to pray with him. But each time he looked back at his friends, they were asleep.
To make matters worse, the group discovered that one of the friends had betrayed Jesus by leading his enemies right to him. Undoubtedly terrified, the rest of Jesus’ friends deserted him.
Many of us can relate. We ask, beg, and plead for help when we’re suffering, but people are too tired, too busy, or have any one of a million reasons why they can’t help us. And then when everything hits the fan, those friends and family members are nowhere to be found.
Jesus went on to be questioned extensively by the religious and governmental leaders. When Jesus told the truth about who he was, they condemned him. The government acknowledged Jesus had done nothing wrong, and they knew the right thing to do was to let Jesus go. But they yielded to the will of their political base — the angry mob demanding that Jesus be killed.
We’ve seen this play out time and time again. We’ve seen church folks question the identities of queer folks and condemn us for proclaiming our truth. We’ve seen religious and political leaders who personally “don’t have a problem with” LGBTQ people or people of color or [insert any marginalized group here], but they don’t want to rock the boat or piss off the folks that got them hired or elected.
Even though they know they’re signing our death sentences, they wash their hands of us and stand idly by while society executes us day after day. At most, they might send “thoughts and prayers” while we are marched up a hill with a cross on our backs.
After Jesus was executed, they took him down from the cross, placed him in a tomb, sealed it with a large stone, and placed guards at the entrance to make sure Jesus stayed right where they put them. Talk about overkill. I’m sure the religious and political leaders thought to themselves, “That ought to do it.” I’m sure they figured they had finally gotten rid of that “Jesus problem.” 
We’re familiar with this. Politicians, so-called religious groups, and even our friends and family members — it seems like they will stop at nothing to prevent us from living our truth. Some will do anything to try and bury us.
But I’m reminded of a proverb inspired by Dinos Christianopoulos: 
They tried to bury us.  
They didn’t know we were seeds.  
This saying especially resonates with me as I think about the Resurrection story.
Although the chief priests and Roman officials tried to kill Jesus, and despite their attempts to bury the Way, the Truth, and the Life, what they didn’t know was that they were only sowing a seed for resurrection.
This is good news for all of us. We will all inevitably endure some suffering. But know that death is a precursor for life. Just like plants that die in the winter and are reborn in the spring, we too are resurrected from situations, circumstances, and systems that seek to bury us.
I say to all of you, especially those who are marginalized, let the Resurrection story empower you during this season. Even if you feel like you’re being buried alive, remember that you’re a seed of divine proportions. By the power of God, you will become like a tree planted by rivers of water that cannot be moved.
The Rev. Luther Young is a pastoral leader at Woodland Christian Church on the Near East Side, moderator of the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance and a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State University. 
Keeping the Faith is a column featuring the perspectives of a variety of faith leaders from the Columbus area. 


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