My husband came home from the store with a sheepish grin. It is his “remember how you said I shouldn’t go shopping by myself because I get things that aren’t on the list” face. Mixed in with apples, wheat thins and hamburger buns was a copy of the recently released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We are Star Wars fans, so it wasn’t entirely surprising. We watched it that night. As the credits rolled, I was struck by the characters’ conviction that “rebellions are built on hope.” Hope is one of the compelling themes of the entire film.
In a way, hope is the tagline or theme of the entire Christian experience. The triumph of hope is what we celebrate this Easter season. Our religious heritage is a story of hope. Abraham, our father in faith, “hoped against hope” that the promises God made would be fulfilled (Romans 4:18). Hannah, filled with faith, hoped for a son. The prophets inspired Israel to hope for the Messiah, even when all seemed lost. Mary, the ultimate model of hoping against all hope, demonstrates for us again and again what it means to be steadfast in faith.
A New Rebellion
Jesus’ message is not necessarily popular. It went against the grain in His own society and it continues to in our own. The Jewish people waited for the Messiah. The Messiah from their perspective was supposed to free them from Roman oppression. Jesus instead came to free us from sin and death, the ultimate oppressors of creation. This is the rebellion of Jesus. While the world loves power, Jesus loves meekness. Society craves pride, lust, aggression and greed. Jesus seeks mercy, unity, forgiveness and humility. It is a rebellion against an enemy as old as creation, so deeply embedded we often forget we should to be fighting it. Evil is ruthlessly cunning in its ability to hide in plain sight.
Jesus not only unveils for us our enemy, He in no uncertain terms defeats it. In this act, death has no hold on us. Jesus gives us life everlasting. And then, to show us the abundance of God’s great love, Jesus gives us the hope of the Resurrection. Hope is alive each time we arise after a fall. We embody this hope when we act for those in need. We are this hope when we are merciful, compassionate and selfless.
This Easter, let’s celebrate the rebellion we belong to. Alleluia, Jesus is Risen! is our battle cry. We are members of a rebellion destined to set the world on fire with love for God. It is a rebellion built on hope – hope in the Resurrection.
Copyright 2017 Kate Taliaferro