Colleague David Moser shares these reflections as we face the cross:
“For our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Linda Brown died on Sunday in Topeka, Kansas. She was 76 years old. When Linda was a third grader her father tried to enroll her in an all white school just blocks from her house in Topeka. Her application to attend the school was denied, and the family was told she must attend an all black school miles away.
The family filed suit in court. The legal case, Brown verses Board of Education, made its way to the Supreme Court in 1954, and was decided in favor of the Brown family affectively beginning the legal dismantling of segregation laws in the United States.
The police killing of yet another unarmed black man, Stephen Clark, last week in his back yard followed by Linda’s death at the start of Holy Week serves as a poignant reminder that the road to a more just and peacefully ordered society is a long one. We have countless miles to go before we can celebrate the day we bury systemic racism, as opposed to grieving the untimely burial of another black person.
The Apostle Paul understood that the struggle to achieve a new world order was at its core first of all a spiritual one against the interlocking forces of death. These interlocking forces Paul called the “principalities and powers.’ They exist in the deeply imbedded ideas, political structures, and social environment that create the matrix we simply know as the reality around us. We are tempted to think that our struggle is with individual police officers, political leaders, or perhaps more broadly political parties or organizations like the KKK. But these are manifestations of the matrix working in the world; they are not the matrix itself.
Paul is asking us to look more deeply at the spirituality of the matrix and recognize we must focus our attention on the deeper spiritual struggle in which we are engaged if we are to overcome and be a part of creating the just and peaceful order we long to see. If we fail to see this guiding principal, we will only become a part of replicating injustice and death; tragically feeding the very order we long to transcend. Holy week asks us to be attentive to the true nature of the matrix, and offers us a narrative with which to see the matrix of Death clearly.
Being willing to even seeing the matrix clearly requires courage. It requires courage to follow Jesus to the cross and look Death squarely in the eye. Only a few women among Jesus’ followers had that kind of courage. They followed Jesus all the way to the cross. It is amazing to remember it was these same women who having seen Jesus’ death on the cross were then capable of seeing beyond the matrix. It was these women who first meet the risen Christ, and proclaimed the first Easter. It was these women, and women like Linda Brown, who continue to invite us to live free new lives outside the authority of the matrix of Death.
– David Moser (March 27, 2018)