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Essay

Easter Tension

By April 15, 2015 One Comment
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This Easter season I find myself reflecting on the tension of two realities: The hope of the resurrection and the killing of unarmed black men by the hands of the police.

Since last week when Theresa Latini wrote a lament, another unarmed black man, Eric Harris, was killed by a police officer. As Mr. Harris lay on the ground dying he cried out, “He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh my God. I’m losing my breath.” The response from an officer on the scene was a new elevation of cruelty when he responded with, “F*ck your breath.”

I can’t help but hear the words of Habakkuk 1 which Theresa Latini reminded us of last week:

How long, Lord, must we call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?

Why do you make us look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

Destruction and violence are before us;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.

Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.

I’ve been thinking about this passage all week. I think Habakkuk 1 is the type of conversation many of us are having with God with right now.

And then I think about Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, I think about a hope deep within my core that reminds me that death does not get the last word. As John Legend and Common sing in Glory, “One day, when the glory comes, it will be ours, it will be ours. Oh, one day, when the war is one, we will be sure, we will be here sure. Oh, glory, glory.”

Two poets have helped me hold the tension of these realities: nayyirah waheed and Jan Richardson. I offer them here for continued conversation, lament, and hope this Easter season.

 

to not be safe
on the earth.
simply
because of the color of your
skin.
how does a being survive this.

-trayvon martin

 

Easter Blessing

If you are looking
for a blessing,
do not linger
here.

Here
is only
emptiness,
a hollow,
a husk
where a blessing
used to be.

This blessing
was not content
in its confinement.

It could not abide
its isolation,
the unrelenting silence,
the pressing stench
of death.

So if it is
a blessing
that you seek,
open your own
mouth.

Fill your lungs
with the air
that this new
morning brings

and then
release it
with a cry.

Hear how the blessing
breaks forth
in your own voice

how your own lips
form every word
you never dreamed
to say.

See how the blessing
circles back again
wanting you to
repeat it
but louder

how it draws you
pulls you
sends you
to proclaim
its only word:

risen
risen
risen.

Jes Kast

The Reverend Jes Kast is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament and serves West End Collegiate Church as their Associate Pastor.

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