“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria – the notable … to whom the people go for help. You think you are better than any other nation. But you are in for trouble!!”(Amos 6:1, ESV/GNT/CEV).
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“NO LONGER AT EASE”
Beloved Easter People, Easter Day has come!
This year’s Easter greeting is extended out of a mixed sense of ecstasy and despondency. That is, along with 2.1 billion people, all around the world, celebrating the “Resurrection of Jesus the Christ”, it is hard to overlook the intermingling of delight and discouragement against America’s present social backdrop that seems to value guns more than people. More pointedly, despite boasts of being, “the land of the free and home of the brave”, many, throughout the country, believe that, “no place and no one feels safe” – not even sacred places like schools, churches including the most vulnerable – i.e. our children. Consequently, few of us may be able to deny that we feel “No Longer at Ease”.
To be “at ease” is to be in harmony with circumstances, however, [the converse] to be “no longer at ease”, is akin to witnessing the death of old beliefs in the old way of“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. This is a kind of “spiritual process” that feels like a death which can be painful. Then, to avoid the pain, we allow ourselves to be lulled into a complacency vis-à-vis an unacceptable status quo regarding gun violence in America. For this reason, I am thankful for young people and the chances they are taking to wake up, to shake up and to snatch our society out of a desensitization to deaths resulting from guns.
So, now that our young people are moving, we must not only thank them but move with them as well. Even more, while it is important to raise our voices for laws that can make a difference, as young people are doing, changing laws alone is insufficient without a changing of hearts. It is essential, therefore, that we also work to eradicate the racism, heterosexism, transphobia, religious intolerance, violent nationalism and any other form of bigotry that have far too many people armed and afraid. After all, the pervasiveness of weapons and their ease of accessibility in a nation already plagued by hatred and fear is an inducement for even more deaths beyond the thousands already killed.
In due course, particularly through this “Easter Season” (i.e. the 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday), inspiration for our efforts to not accept things as they are or might be, will arise out of our reflections upon Jesus’ road to the cross and his resurrection. In this, we better come to understand “Easter as not just about the past, way back then and long ago; it is all about the future… about life, and not just life after death…but real life … right now” [Peter Gomes – American preacher and theologian, Harvard Divinity School]. And in the end, hearing anew, Mahatma Gandhi say, “You can judge a society by how they treat their weakest members“, we can draw motivation to witness to all who are charged to defend, to protect, to help and to lead, with these words:
No Longer at Ease …. Reverend Gale Jones, Executive Pastor