This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
Whatever your faith community or theological persuasion, on Easter Sunday let’s be clear: The world is unredeemed. No amount of “redeemed and not yet” theological hocus pocus will do.
Rituals have a hard time with reality. Theology is the easy way out.
Theology is patriotism without a national flag. Though, if you’ve noticed in our churches and synagogues, flags have a way of slipping in. Check out the pastor with the American flag by his side. Not to be outdone, the rabbi has Israel’s flag by his side, too.
Quite a patriotic scene.
But if we’re going to be clear about out unredeemed/unliberated world, we need to add the obvious: What we do and don’t do in the face of injustice defines our faith or lack thereof. Simple as that.
Easter and Passover place us in a bind. How can Christians celebrate Easter with their own history of Holocaust, previous events of atrocity – shall we speak of the aftermath of 1492 in the Americas? – and the injustice that well-meaning Christians perpetrate today? How can Jews celebrate Passover while the oppression of Palestinians becomes permanent?
The “no rescue” prophets aren’t going anywhere near this religious – and political – charade.
Where do the “no rescue” prophets go? Some Christians remain Christian in a radical mode. Some Jews remain Jews in a radical mode. The difference is one of expressed faith. Radical Christians deepen their faith to survive the exile that awaits them. Radical Jews leave Judaism behind as a form of irredeemable hypocrisy.
Or maybe exile is the Jewish way of embodying faith. Thank God, Hosanna to the Highest isn’t the Jewish way. Can Christians learn a thing or two about their faith by exploring this Jewish exile embodiment and holding back on their endless and triumphal resurrection proclamations?
The Christian religious/secular Jewish twain shall meet in exile. When both Jews and Christians realize that there’s no going back, something interesting is going to happen. Hold on to your hats.
The Jewish prophets today are decolonizing the Biblical prophetic – in order to set the prophetic tradition free.
Christians of Conscience are trying to pry themselves away from Constantinian Christianity – to set Jesus free.
Being seen at the Passover Seder and church on Easter Sunday to show everyone how Jewish and Christian you are can’t continue – can it?
The troubling question remains: Does doing Easter and Passover the “right” way set us free? Or no matter the intention, does it deepen our Constantinian entanglement?
We’ve had the innovative Easters and Passovers for a long time now. Everything is the same – and getting worse. Time for something different?
The “no rescue” prophets aren’t much help as yet another Passover/Easter season comes to close. They aren’t going to provide a rescue ritual to cover over injustice.
No rituals until there is justice?