Stirring, emotional and unmistakable: The Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah is the subject of this week's Soul Music.
Jesus had faith in a God of new life, and so can we. We do not need to be Christian to place our trust in the God of new life, and we do not need to believe Jesus was the Son of God.
Somewhere in the depths of life and even in the depths of death there is a source of newness, a well-spring of fresh possibilities, a giver of new things, who arrives perpetually, often in new and unexpected ways, helping bring new life from bruised psyches and broken bones. Jesus lived with faith in the God of new life, of creative transformation, and he sought to be a vessel for its beauty. For many people he was. Not a kingly messiah who rides in victory, but a humble messiah for whom love is part of the spirit of God. Here is how one Christian priest, the Reverend Teri Daily, puts it in her essay The Downward Mobility of God.
"They expected a Messiah, a real Messiah, who would unite them, deliver them, beat the Romans at their own game. But what they get is a man who rides in on a donkey, overturns the tables in the temple causing a scene, and barely stands up for himself when arrested by the authorities."
Christians are a people who want to share in the journey and faith of Jesus. In the words of the New Testament, we want to put on the mind of Christ (First Corinthians 2:16) We know that the new life given from heaven belongs to everyone, not to Christians alone. We know that the blossoming forth of Easter, moment by moment, cannot be contained by a religion, certainly not our own.
In the house of new life there are many rooms and the doors are open. We simply need to leave our egos and defensiveness, our pretenses to perfection and superiority, at the door. Easter belongs to everyone, and so does the Hallelujah Chorus. Sing and enjoy.
-- Jay McDaniel