Is there an oppression and a suffering so internalized that we do not even recognize it as suffering?
Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
For Sunday, May 1 , 2011: Year A – Easter 2
Grace and peace to you all in exile in the Babylon of the United States, Western Europe, Australia, the Mall of America and those lost on line. My your blindness to your suffering at the hands of Global Capital and vacuous striving be revealed to you, so that you may see that you have been freed through the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, that utterly abundant life has been given to you. You are Holy because God is Holy.
Where Are We?
Or something like that. The author of 1 Peter is writing to a young Christian church struggling to live out the Empire of God in the midst of the Roman Empire. While many comparisons can be made between ancient Rome and the present dominate Capital empires, the position of the Christian church in these empires is much different. We are not on the bottom we are on the top.
The Nature of Our Faith
This difference has been explored a few times before in this blog, but really bears repeating: Our faith is full of contradictions—I mean that in a good way—full of dialectical truths. Like the one the texts for this Sunday hold out to us. Our faith is utterly dependent on the proclamation that God gets a body, and as God with a body is killed. And further, God with a body defeats death and rises from the dead. It is a profoundly physical foundation our faith has. Yet we have no body.
But the contradictory nature of our faith that calls out to me in this epistle reading is that the Christianity we find witness to in our Holy Book is for and from the outsiders, the oppressed, the marginalized—yet it has been experienced for most of its history as the faith of the Empire, the powerful, the oppressor.
The Hardest Question
Does 1 Peter have any relevance to us? Is there an oppression and a suffering, though different, that is just as real, that we are experiencing, but one we have so internalized, made our own, that we do not even recognize it as suffering?