Jesus is Lord and the Domination System is Not!

Do you believe Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Yes is the answer that I normally get from Christians. Do you believe in the political Jesus as your Lord and Savior? What? is the other response I normally get from Christians. We have been celebrating Holy Week and the journey of Lent for the past 40 days. This journey is a path of death and new life. It is an alternative journey that is in direct conflict of the world. The resurrection in this season means something much different than it has in these past several years.

What makes it different this year is the state of our world today. I looked on the news and saw the reports on CNN and other news outlets recapping the missiles that were fired in Syria and the "Mother of all bombs" dropped in Afghanistan. During this Holy Week, I wonder what the church will preach about in regards to the resurrection in light of the aggression of this country's imperial power.

Christians in the United States are deeply divided about this country's imperial role. Our perception of the church in America, using very approximate estimates, is that about 20 percent of Christians are very critical of American imperial policy and about 20 percent are strong supporters of it (Borg, 214). The remaining 40-60 percent of people don't know what to think yet.

The resurrection I believe is two-fold. It points to the personal transformation of death to new life for individuals who believe. Secondly, it has a political meaning. Holy Week (Good Friday and Easter) sees the human problem as injustice, and the solution as God's justice. The passion of Christ was for the Kingdom of God. It was to demonstrate for us what life would be like on this planet if God was king and he ruled over the domination systems and empires of this broken world.

It was this passion that Jesus had that ultimately resulted in his own crucifixion. His life this Easter reminds us that our path to transformation and rebirth in the new community is by way of the cross and following him to Jerusalem. This is the place where he dies and rises, but it also the place where he confronts powers and authorities but is vindicated by God!

I'm reminded everyday when I turn on the television that we are in a fight against an imperial power who has a propensity to provoke violence and flex its muscle with militaristic might. I'm afraid that a certain section of the church will stand by idly and let this happen. The Jesus that I read in scripture calls us to something completely different in this Easter season.

This president (#45) is dangerous. If there is not a sacred resistance against this empire we will end up in wars that could do monumental damage to humankind. In spite of all of this, the resurrection declares that Jesus is Lord. What that means is that the powers of this world are not. The resurrection is both personal and political. It points to us personally in centering in God which includes a radical trust in him and that trust produces liberation and freedom. "Who the son sets free is free indeed." Without this personal centering and freedom people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, Jr would not have been able to stand in the midst of oppression.

Jesus' last week challenges the domination systems of this world even as it also invites us upon a journey through death to resurrection, journeying with the risen Jesus, the risen Christ (Borg, 215). This Easter, I'm challenged to take the path of dying and rising and being born again. It is this path that the gospel writers allude to when they say Jesus is the "only way." There is no other way to new life and transformation expect by way of the cross. I invite you in this Easter season to take up your cross and follow Jesus to Jerusalem. There you will find sorrow, death, and misery, but simultaneously you will come to know Him in the power of His resurrection. Jesus is Lord, and the domination system is not!
Peter Watts