An Easter Church
To many non-Christians, and many Christians really, Easter is nothing more than a zombie story that does not include the literal eating of brains.
But that is if you read the story literally: that Jesus literally only physically rose from the dead, which is something that I have always struggled with.
But as someone who does not see the point in looking and searching for biblical fact, rather than biblical truth, I always look for what is the truth in the biblical narrative.
Last night, the Saturday before Easter, my fiancée and I were out on a date and we saw the movie “Oz The Great and Powerful,” the prequel to “The Wizard of Oz.” I could not, and nor could Kelley, stop thinking about all of the Christological images in the film. (What this means, is how does the image of Jesus or how does the story of Jesus paralleled or easy metaphors are drawn from another story)
Careful spoiler alerts ahead
One of the greatest images was Oz, the Wizard (played by James Franco), when he had drawn up this huge plan to rid the kingdom of Oz of the wicked witches.
In this plan, Oz decides to make his “death” a great trick.
But what made this story very Christological for me, was in his resurrection.
In his resurrection you see the first time that the Wizard does his trick of hiding behind a curtain and with that face in the smoke.
But in his resurrection the people become excited; they were afraid that they had lost their wizard, they were afraid that they were going to have fight evil on their own.
So that is enough of a summary… if you haven’t, go see it. It’s not the best movie, but it’s okay. Worth seeing, just because it’s fun.
But Oz had to die, so that the kingdom of Oz could be all it could be.
Oz had to resurrect so that the kingdom of Oz would realize that their wizard and king would be with them always.
Oz had to die because the people had to fight evil on their own.
Oz had to resurrect to give people the courage and strength to fight evil on their own.
Oz had to die and resurrect in order to become the wizard that the people of Oz believed him to be.
Just as Jesus had to so that the realm of God could be all that it could be.
Jesus has to resurrect sot that the realm of God would realize that their Christ would be with them always.
Jesus had to die because people have to fight evil on their own (whatever that evil may be).
Jesus had to resurrect to give people the courage and strength to fight evil on their own.
Jesus had to die and resurrect in order to become the messiah, the Christ, that we believed him to be.
But in Jesus’ death and resurrection, just like Oz’s death and resurrection, we and the people of Oz have to fight evil on our own.
The people of Oz had to fight the oppression of living under the wicked witches. We have to fight the oppression that we cause. We have to fight the evil that is poverty, that is hunger, that is war and violence, that is abuse, that is human trafficking, that is sexism, that is racism, that is homophobia, the list goes on and on.
But it is us, the church that have to fight it.
We might have something greater than us to look to, but we have to do it. As the community of the church. As the living body of Christ.
In the death and resurrection it makes it possible for people like Paul to say things like “I can do all things through Christ,” and makes it possible for the Wizard to say “With your faith in each other, anything is possible.”
We can, as a community of faith, do anything. But we have to realize that Jesus is physically dead, but resurrected in the body of the church.
We the church make Jesus the messiah that we say he is.
We the church make it possible to fight evil in our world, even when we can only see Jesus off in the clouds in some way.
We the church make it possible for the realm of God to be realized here on earth.
This Easter, my hope is that we look to the resurrection not as proof of something about Jesus, but rather as a symbol that Jesus is with us and we can fight evil.