My Easter includes every person

by Hollis Hiscock

hollis-for-hollistorial-adj-clippedI mean EVERY PERSON—not just those who follow a particular lifestyle or worship, adhere to a particular ideology/philosophy/theology or practice any restrictive human limitation.

Now human beings possess free will, enabling them to make their own choices and decisions. Consequently, some exercise their prerogative and chose not to accept Easter.

They have that right.

However, that does not prevent me from having the vision of inclusivity to embrace all, and leaving open the opportunity for individuals to change their minds.

Philosophers, including Aristotle, used terms like actuality and potentiality to describe the dichotomy within the human psyche. Potentiality, considering various options available, envisions what a person may become. Actuality is when the decision is made and the person begins the process of working towards achieving the end results.

My Easter includes every person rests on the combination of two underpinning foundations:

God is love.

God is creator.

God, by entering into human nature as Jesus Christ, who conquered temptation, sin, suffering and death, could not restrict his love and action to certain creatures because of religious affiliation, status, sexuality or any other human label.

The gospels provide many illustrations where Jesus extends God’s love and invites outsiders to become part of God’s community.

For me, the most powerful example is the encounter between Jesus and the thief being crucified with him.

I cannot verify whether the thief knew to whom he was speaking or recognized Jesus as God, but he changed his focus and attention.

We are given no hint as to his state of mind. Perhaps great trepidation, fear or nervous humour prompted the thief to say, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Symbolically, Jesus/God wrapped the thief, his creation, in love and assured him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Had the thief inadvertently attended a rally, and remembered Jesus saying, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

Our 2017 Lenten series—Women of the Bible—documents their stories. I have been deeply touched by the in-depth awakenings roused by insights enunciated by our female commentators.

Susan Bird, writing about the Samaritan woman who brushed aside hatreds and traditions and offered water to the Jewish man Jesus, concluded, “This passage reminds me that humanity creates the barriers and Jesus casts them down.”

Her insight reflected Paul’s observation, who observed, “We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now.” Romans 8:22.

(I use the King James Version here because the language conveys extreme, spectacular conditions.)

Two thousand years later humans continue to create barriers and walls, while worldwide societies groan and travail.

While sitting in my parish church waiting to commence worship, I scribbled notes about current events for this HOLLIStorial. I think about local and international happenings during January and February and brace for what’s to come.

Then we begin singing our opening hymn and “My Easter includes every person” flashes like a neon sign across my inner screen.

The lyrics by American hymn writer Marty Haugen demonstrated how Easter can be renewed or come alive in every person, actuality or potentially.

“Bring forth the kingdom of mercy,
Bring forth the kingdom of peace,
Bring forth the kingdom of justice,
Bring forth the city of God”.

I see people as the salt of the earth bringing flavour to a bland society; I see individuals as lights guiding others along life’s highway; I see folks sowing seeds of mercy, peace and justice everywhere; and I am buoyed by my conviction “God’s Easter includes every person.”