Charita Goshay: Easter reminds us that love defies every obstacle

Charita M. Goshay
The Repository

The great irony of Easter, the story of Jesus' victory over death, is that it didn't emerge from triumphalism but rather silent humiliation.

In the hours prior to his crucifixion, Jesus made no effort to exonerate himself, or rally others to declare his innocence.

That wasn't the mission.

Besides, he implicitly understood human nature. Some of the very people who cheered him on Sunday were braying for his head on Friday.

Try as we might − and we certainly do − the meaning of Easter cannot be camouflaged, reconfigured or spun into something other than what it is: A love story.

The power of light Darkness can only be vanquished by light

Bookended between the fall of Eden and an empty tomb, it is the story of God's longing for reconciliation with his creation; one so deep and profound that an unfathomable measure was taken to assuage it.

It is a story that makes no sense, given that for millennia, humans sacrificed to their gods.

It was never the other way around.

But Jesus frequently turned things upside down, from treating women, Romans, Samaritans and the poor as social equals, to redefining love and how it should be practiced.

Easter is confirmation of our infinite worth, which, despite all of our boasting and striving, has been something we consistently fail to see in ourselves − and others.

The declaration in John's gospel that "God so loved the world" was a radical departure from that came before it because it means unequivocally that all of humankind is of equal worth.

In essence, Easter announces to the world that love is the only commodity that holds its value because it produces that which human endeavor cannot.

It is impervious to power, status or bloodline.

We may have been founded by Puritans, but American culture has never been entirely comfortable with the gospel, which shines light into places we'd rather it wouldn't.

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The notion that "the greatest among you should be the servant" is anathema in a country which venerates the chest-thumpers.

We are, after all, a culture in which people fall from balconies and cliffs while trying to take pictures of themselves. There's no way we would possess the power to feed 5,000 people, heal diseases or walk on water, and not misuse it to self-aggrandize.

Given how easily we are impressed by wealth, Jesus' dare to rich young rulers to "sell all you have and follow me," makes us shrink back in horror. We navigate past it by pretending the challenge is meant for someone else.

Yet, the love expressed for us by God through Easter is not diminished in the least by our shallowness and selfishness − in other words, our humanness.

Easter is the panacea for our universal craving to be loved, understood and accepted. It is a win-win, for us and for the God through whom it was manifest.

But it could not have been achieved without a king's willingness to surrender his splendor and plunge himself into the abyss.

In his book, "Beyond Words," the late theologian Frederick Buechner wrote:

"The symbol of Easter is the empty tomb. You can't depict or domesticate emptiness. You can't make it into pageants and string it with lights. It doesn't move people to give presents to each other or sing old songs. It ebbs and flows all around us, the Eastertide. Even the great choruses of Handel's Messiah sound a little like a handful of crickets chirping under the moon."

Love led Jesus to a criminal's death, abandoned and denied by his closest friends who couldn't spare him from his fate, even if they hadn't run off.

Yet, they were chosen to change the world because love can never be vanquished; not by disappointment, fear, or failure.

It defies every obstacle and, as we are reminded every Easter, even death itself.

Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or . On Twitter: cgoshayREP.

On Twitter : @cgoshayREP

Charita Goshay