Easter is a time of new beginnings! We use symbols like the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis and leaving behind the caterpillar it was, or the famous Easter Bunny that Cadbury celebrates in its Easter commercial.
(Here’s a link for one on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw_gEyg7Nt8.)
As I write my column this week our skies are overcast, almost a reflection of the Good Friday on Golgotha where Jesus was crucified two millennia ago. Many of us have been reminded of the Judeo-Christian and Muslim heritage by the record-breaking series “The Bible” that aired the last few weeks.
Roma Downey of “Touched by an Angel” and her husband Mark Burnet of “Survivor,” collaborated on the five night series on The Bible (Genesis through Revelations). All the news editions are touting the series as the most watched in television history. The last night is tomorrow on the History Channel. The couple calls the series, “God’s Love Story.”
PBS March 8th interview with the couple that can be seen at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/page/3/
Most everyone, pastors and parishioners, have been impressed by the series with the actors, graphics and the choices of highlighting which story when. However, any person familiar with The Bible (the book) knows that some events are out of order; and modern Biblical Scholars for sure know that Jesus was not a German or Scandinavian.
It was hard for me to watch Jesus as portrayed because archeologists, and Biblical researchers have long ago shown that Jesus’ DNA was more like the current inhabitants of Israel and the region than any recollection of Titian’s “Christ Carrying the Cross” but does look more like Rembrandt’s “Head of Jesus” now at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
I would welcome the world not always publicizing Jesus as a white guy, a guy from our own hippy-fied era; but rather a real native of the region with brown eyes, brown skin, a face inherited with compassion. In my childhood, my mom hung a picture called “Suffer the Children” in my bedroom. It showed a blue-eyed Jesus with children, mostly white children, on his knee and surrounding him. That picture brought comfort but I always questioned whether Jesus would really look like that since he came from a wholly different part of the world.
I think it is a new beginning to consider how Jesus really would appear. We can surely recognize that God appears to us daily as those we work beside, stand in line behind, and those who worship differently. God is magnanimous enough to be in our mothers, our sisters, our enemies, and as far back in time and DNA as to be in our deep heritage, back to the beginning of time. God is love and abides in all of us when we care for one another and recognize the God or goddess in all of the earth, plants and creatures.
So again, even here at Easter time, maybe we could renew our souls by being more charitable and giving: we must cherish each other more, appreciate the faith in others more, and grow more conscious of our responsibilities to the earth, to the fly-catchers, to renewable energy. We are keeping our word and our convictions to the faith that stirs us when we acknowledge our thanks through keeping the earth (inhabitants, plants, and creatures) safe and nurtured.
Rise and shine it’s Easter weekend!