Sunday, April 08, 2012

He Is Risen!

Today is a happy day indeed. Christians declare triumphantly the resurrection of Christ. It is historical. It is a fact. It is witnessed by hundreds of people, many at different places. The gospels recorded it. There is solid evidence that points to the resurrection of Christ. Most powerfully, the biggest evidence is the transformed people who have become disciples of Christ.

Today in Church, I told a Easter story for children, celebrated Holy Communion, and preached an Easter Sermon based on Luke 24. It is an eventful day. I returned home, tired but contented.

While Christians remember and celebrate the Triduum, the three days leading to Easter, many Jews remember the Passover beginning Friday 6pm to Saturday. This is especially poignant for Messianic Jews, who straddles between two great traditions. One such person is Lauren Winner, who embraced Christianity from Judaism. Writing in the Washington Post's religion column, Winner argues that her Jewish background and the Passover Seder helps her to appreciate more of Easter Sunday. The kind of remembering essentially transports the past into the present, making the whole ritual very meaningful. While Jews observe the Passover Seder, Christians observe the Eucharist. The Passover Seder is the remembrance of how God delivered Israel from Egypt, and how the angel of death 'passed over' the Israelite families, and instead killed every firstborn boy of the Egyptians. I find it interesting that Winner takes issue with the Johannine version of the Passion account, in that it is particularly  the killing description of Christ, inflicted by Jews. Apparently, this is a sore point, that depicted the cruelty of the Jews to Jesus. I suppose being having a Jewish background myself is in itself an advantage. I do not experience the same kind of conflict like Winner. Yet, I think there is something important to learn from Winner's article. Christians need to read the Scriptures with sensitivity. Just because Jesus has been killed by Jews does not mean all Jews are bad.

Unfortunately, there is still some ill feelings between some groups in  both Judaism and Christianity. If Jews practice openness, and Christians practice love and acceptance, the divide will not be as wide. Perhaps, Winner is right. The message of Easter and the Passover can both be remembered with one guiding attitude. Love. In particular, the love of God.

The fact is there is one thing that makes us all common. We are all sinners, and we all need forgiveness.


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