This will be the first Easter since the horrid discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools. The sacred day on the Christian calendar falls just weeks after a historic visit from Canadian Indigenous leaders to the Vatican. This year it’s not just Catholics who recognize Easter amid the backdrop of controversy.
Evangelical Christians are also reeling. In just the past couple of months Bruxy Cavey, arguably Canada’s most prominent Pastor, was accused of sexual misconduct. The Meeting House, based in Oakville, Ontario with its 21 sites sprawling across Southern Ontario is one of only a handful of churches in Canada with more than 5000 weekly attendees.
Bruxy is the author of best-selling books, The End of Religion, and (Re)Union). He has been a frequent keynote speaker, a guest university lecturer, and even someone that American media outlets have turned to for analysis when their church leaders went offside.
It’s for this reason that Canadians' willingness to attend an Easter service this year hinges in part on the church giving voice to dynamics of power, and further, on Canadians understanding Easter for what it really is.
For an innocent Jewish man to be violently nailed to a cross in Israel 2000 years ago was the height of injustice, and if believed as truth, its precedence will never be surpassed.
Good Friday services are always characterized by a somber tone. However, the disparity of this iniquity is further realized when understood that Christ, the Son of God, did not just endure physical death, but he bore eternal condemnation in place of mankind. Thus, the gloom of Good Friday does not offer an offender a ‘get-out-of-jail free card’ nor does it completely erase a victim’s scars. Instead, it invites all people to find healing from their chief offence of disobeying God.
Three days after his gruesome death, the stone was rolled away, signalling that Christ was not there; he had resurrected. Easter Sunday then marks the empty tomb of Christ; it’s not a shallow celebration offering hope in projected family or career growth nor does it warrant hope in the outlook of a particular religious or political leader. Ultimately, if we let it, Easter solidifies our status as both eternally loved and eternally valued.