On Good Friday, I spent most of my day reflecting on the Cross, not just as a practice of tradition and ritual but because my spirit was weary. I read the Good Friday chapter in Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Explorations in Liturgical Direct Action. Kellerman, the author, reminds his reader that Jesus “goes up [on the Cross] in the conviction that God is entering, cracking, turning and breaking open history…the Cross of Christ is quite simply the seed of the kingdom. It is the first and last word in hope and the freedom of God.”
I reflected on how the Cross of Christ reveals both the ugliness of humanities’ obsessions with power, greed, domination, and violence and the depths to which God will go to enter into the struggle to liberate those who are oppressed and bring freedom and life to all from the destructive ways that sin (ugliness) reveals itself. I marveled at Jesus as God in the flesh. I remembered that Jesus was also part of the oppressed class, as an outspoken radical Jewish Nazarene carpenter.
I remembered that Jesus was criminalized.
sentenced to a state sanctioned.
As we approach Resurrection Sunday, I hold near to me the deep, solid, and firm roots of God’s solidarity with those who are suffering under the yoke of oppression. The resurrection bears witness, crying out “it is finished—the violence of injustice does not have the last word.”
In light of both the present realities of the ways in which Covid-19 exposes the disparities caused by the inequity of race and class, xenophobic bigotry towards Asians and targets Asian Americans, the injustices of the Carceral State and the past realities of the collective histories of marginalized communities in this country, I am reminded of the long tradition and legacy of the holy tenacity of black and brown folks’ commitments to fight and struggle for their liberation. I am reminded that black and brown people in this country have been fighting for their liberation for centuries. I am reminded of the strength, resilience, and beauty of black and brown community. I am reminded of the allies that entered into that struggle in the fight for liberation. I am reminded that while the violence of oppression does not have the last word, we enter into the struggle for liberation in solidarity as “angelic troublemakers”, following in the footsteps of the ancestors Bayard Rustin, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcom X, James Baldwin, Fred Hampton, James Cone, Nipsey, and so many others both past and present, and known and unknown.
Pondering these realities, I was reminded of a reflection that I shared with a dear sister last year. At that time, I was constructing meaning and putting words to the wonderings that I had long been having on where I fit into the works of justice-making and solidarity-building with those impacted by the carceral system.
I shared that deep in my spirit, not my intellect, I am coming to hold the significance of this work not just for today but as being inextricably bound by a broader history and legacy. I am co-laboring alongside others, grabbing hold of the baton in the struggle for survival and liberation that the ancestors have been passing down from generation to generation. We are, in many ways, finding our place within the already operating modern-day underground railroad system.
Let us go forth, putting off rugged individualism and putting on radical solidarity-building. Let us go forth, recalling the sacred history of those who came before us, planting seeds of justice that we today are watering. Let us go forth, remembering Kellerman’s words:
Jesus “goes up [on the Cross] in the conviction that God is entering, cracking, turning and breaking open history…the Cross of Christ is quite simply the seed of the kingdom. It is the first and last word in hope and the freedom of God.
cheering you on…