Amidst Racist Shootings and Stabbings, the Resurrection of Jesus

Recent weeks have brought us a couple of examples of improbable and extraordinary forgiveness in the face of brutal racism.
Today, the newspapers carry the story of teacher Vincent Uzomah.  Of the 14 year old who stabbed him while shouting racists slurs, Mr Uzomah said this:

As a Christian I have forgiven this boy who has inflicted this trauma and pain on me and my family. Our prayer for him is that he will make use of the opportunities and support that will be provided to him to become a changed person who will make a positive contribution to the society.

And who could forget the astonishing scenes broadcast from the South Carolina courthouse in June, when the victims of the Charleston massacre told Dylann Root that they forgave him?  It was reported as just another news item in the cycle, but I think it should be considered one of the defining moments in the history of the United States. Those victims’ families should win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The fact that the Charleston victims, their families, and Vincent Uzomah are all Christian cannot pass without comment.  Their faith is what led them to forgive.  They are taking the words of Jesus as he was executed, and putting them into practice, in the hope of conquering hatred and sowing peace.

To my mind, the forgiveness shown by these people counts as a Resurrection of Jesus.  His thoughts have been reincarnated in the minds of his followers, two millenia later.   I explore this idea in my novella, The Good Shabti:

She finds it easier to think of the person who wrote what is on the slab. The author. He (probably, certainly a man) has had some thoughts. Some synapses have triggered, muscles have moved, words have been said. And now they are here on this block of stone. Her fingers are tracing the marks, and neurones have connected. But are the patterns in her brain the same shape as in the mind of that man, all those years ago?

I think that this is precisely what has happened in the cases I mentioned above.  The patterns are replicated, crackling along synapses once again.  The thoughts, the sentiment, the love-mixed-with-pain felt by someone in Palestine circa 30 CE have been transmitted and reproduced in the twenty-first century.  It is a Resurrection.
I am aware that this is not the same as a literal Resurrection—the restoration of life to a three-day dead corpse punctured with at least five catastrophic stab wounds.  I assume that most Christians still believe that such an occurence took place, despite the fact that it would require a suspension of the laws of science.  So my defenition of Resurrection may not sit too well with the fundamentalists.
But just as they have their own personal truth, I have mine, which is this: I have heard the voice of Jesus, and it had the southern cadence of a woman from South Carolina, sobbing for her dead mother.

3 Replies to “Amidst Racist Shootings and Stabbings, the Resurrection of Jesus”

  1. Thanks for this post, Robert.
    You would probably count me as a fundamentalist, and we would undoubtedly disagree on the nature of resurrection, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the sentiment and the beautiful way you have expressed it. Humanity united in mutual appreciation – what a rarity!

    1. Thanks Julie. I suppose I should actually have used the word ‘literalist’.
      Here’s the thing though: doesn’t my semantic trickery actually make the Ressurection for everyone? Isn’t it the replication of the feeling, the sentiment, the love, the Actual Ball Game, The Thing That Matters? If you are an all-powerful God as the Bible has it, then (frankly) a Ressurection is No Biggie. What’s three days when you’re eternal? A literal resurrection seems to insist on grounding the power within one supernatural person. A metaphorical resurrection (“Jesus is alive within all of us”) grants it, and the attendant forgiveness, love and compassion, to all of us. To my mind, the power of the sacrifice on the cross is all the more potent and poignant *beacause* it killed the Palestinian social activist Yeshua, with no chance of a return, no magic Get Out Of The Cave Free Card.

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