At funerals, tragedies, and Easter many people contemplate the reality of death. It is a topic that causes some people to plug their ears and hum to avoid facing their greatest fear.
While some live never thinking about their death, others think about it every day.
Death is big business with warfare, estate management and funerary services. As with life, death has its share of regulators.
Politics and religion are both about establishing and preserving a way of life. Governments are given authority (or take authority) over the affairs of humanity. They concern themselves with laws that keep a civil and manageable society.
Religion also exercises authority in the lives of its followers to promote behaviours and beliefs that will benefit God and the faith community.
The best governments and the best religions appear to offer certainty to their people, but all citizens and worshippers will eventually die. None will get away without paying the piper or at least their taxes.
In talking about the development of the American constitution Benjamin Franklin said:
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ finds a world of religion and politics at war with God. However, Jesus was not the first or last hero to be executed by politics or religion. He joins a long list of misfits who threaten the power base of community controls.
The powerful and violent Roman government sided with the religious authorities in Jerusalem to do away with one they considered to be a viable threat to their stability and power base. If their mission had succeeded, Jesus would have disappeared into history as a misguided, minor figure executed by the state for insubordination.
But Jesus did not disappear into a grave—he emerges from death as the centerpiece of history. What kind of man rises from a grave and what does it mean? At the heart of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is a certainty that defies the conventional wisdom of politics and religion.