Easter is the climax of the Church calendar in which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Amid the traditional trappings of Easter egg hunts and potted lilies, it is easy for the faithful to forget the radical implications of this affirmation. To believe that on "the third day he rose from the dead" demands that the followers of Jesus trust that the power of his resurrection can transform our economic relations.
One must remember the political context of his death. He was executed by the Roman Empire as a public demonstration of torture because he claimed to be an alternative 'Lord' to the Caesar. They had reason to be afraid because of his message and his methods. He preached about economic equality and the redistribution of wealth. And he put his preaching into practice when he staged an act of civil disobedience in the Temple attacking the money changers. This set in motion the plot to kill him.
His resurrection is a triumph over the political and economic forces which crucified him. To be sure, there is more to the Easter message than just economic liberation, but it can never be truncated to spiritual renewal or eternal life. The resurrection is the power of God to overcome all the forces of death and to give hope for every dimension of our lives.
This Easter, Christians celebrate the victory of Christ over the forces of injustice and oppression. The power to confront evil and to sustain one's commitment to the struggle for workers' rights comes from the Spirit of the Risen Carpenter. The hymn 'The Strive Is O'er, the Battle Done' says, 'The powers of death have done their worst, but Christ their legions hath dispersed; let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!' When we work for justice in the workplace we are shouting holy joy for the Messiah who has dispersed the powers of oppression.
The Rev. Darren Cushman Wood is the Senior Minister of Speedway United Methodist Church and President of IWJ's Board of Directors.