The presider was the Reverend Luis Leon, who also gave the closing benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration.
|Mr. Obama & Rev. Luis Leon at DC's's St. John's Episcopal Church|
Unlike at the ceremony on the Mall, where Leon’s stated goal was to bring people together, Leon chose to preach politically partisan on the holiest day of the Christian calendar. Leon preached from the pulpit:
The captains of the religious right are always calling us back, back back. For blacks to be back in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet and for immigrants to be on their side of the border...What you and I understand is that when Jesus says you can’t hang onto me, he says you know it’s not about the past, it’s not about the before, it’s not about the way things were but about the way things can be in the now.
Really? Please cite some contemporary examples of captains of the religious right calling blacks to be at the back of the bus. Leon failed to do so during his Easter sermon.
The Easter message can be understood with its parallel to the Jewish Passover. The children of Israel were freed from their slavery in Egypt by Yahweh’s power and they were put on the path to the Promised Land. Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross conquered the ultimate wages of spiritual slavery to sin–death.
It might be worth considering if Rev. Leon’s sermon was truly uplifting or perpetuating continued political bonds dressed up in Easter finery or spurious scriptural sanction. The answer may be found in Rev. C.L. Bryant's documentary Runaway Slave. Alas, the message might not be a revelation as much as a lamentation.
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