Sarah, our staff in Saskatoon’s Westside, shares an honest reflection on the tension of confronting broken shalom in her community during the Easter season while holding on to its promise of new life. What might it look like to wrestle with our individual and collective apathy and the church’s call to participate in God’s work of healing and renewal?
If you are also experiencing tension or apathy this Easter, we hope this inspires honest expressions of your own.
In January 2021, the body of Kimberley Squirrel, a 34-year-old Indigenous mother, had been found less than a half block away from where I had lived the year prior. Kimberley’s death was seen by many as one more person falling through the cracks of broken policies and systems.
During the Lenten season soon after, I found myself in deep lament over the ongoing violence suffered by so many precious, sacred people made in the image of God during the season when we remember that Christ’s body too, was broken due to the violence of broken social, economic and religious systems.
While navigating dissonance with the Church’s response to this suffering, and disappointment with my own apathy, I felt solace and permission from God to ask the deliberately provocative and wildly tender question, “Do we care at all about resurrection?” Today, I’m sharing with you this expression of lament, updated to reflect our current realities in 2023.
Do we care at all about resurrection?
by Sarah Warman
How many bodies of Christ have suffered this year-
suicide within penal institutions
systems that fail those they’re set up to serve
seniors given their 65th birthday gift of being cut off from support programs
the violence of guns
Who is responsible
if not us?
if not us as a city?
if not us as neighbours?
...if not us as faith communities?
Who was responsible for the murder of Christ,
if not the people?
if not the crowds-
from the silent and observing
to the vocal and demanding
if not the system of false courts and power-wielding leaders?
If we *really* integrated our professed theology, that “Christ has no body now but yours”...
Would our city’s spiritual communities not continually be committed in radical ways to the preservation and flourishing of life?
So that all bodies matter, beyond where they sit come Sunday morning?
So no more bodies of Christ are taken by state-sanctioned
or voice-of-the-people violence?
Would we not be preaching and advocating
for harm reduction so our neighbours stay alive?
For housing with dignity? For ensuring no one must hitchhike home in a winter storm after being released?
For mental health support easily accessible before crisis hits?
For utilizing our facilities to offer safe and welcoming spaces for those without? For having robust networks of care when families navigate job loss or illness?
For insisting on reforming income support systems so nobody has to ever consider ending their days because of the hopelessness of never making ends meet? To have to choose death over being unhoused, alone, abandoned by society?
For listening to, and following the leadership of those most impacted in how to heal the violence and exclusion and bigotry and white supremacy that is lethal?
For actually building communities where leaders are held accountable and victims are believed and made whole?
…for so much more?
Look at us
standing at the foot of the cross once more
jeering at you, God, with our judgements against our neighbours
the ones we’re so sure are getting what they deserve
far away, refusing to acknowledge the bloody bodies displayed
it doesn’t concern us anyway
preoccupied with profiteering from the suffering of the penalized
their loss, our gain
Are we bound to be eternally caught in the Saturday?
No resurrection fathomable?
I’ll catch a glimpse of emerging tree buds,
or remember the passion of a particular local leader towards our collective healing
maybe I’ll even feel a softening of my own cynicism
I’ll believe more in resurrection-
that in the midst of chaos and disappointment,
disillusionment and grief,
violence and terror,
in the revelation of our own complicity
That the Divine-
that Creator is breathing new life
showing us new ways
and that we care
Care enough to respond in action
responding to those suffering with compassion
walking a path for liberation together
blessing the world with our hands
So that Christ’s death
truly means life
What would your answer be to the question “Do we care about the resurrection?”
For practical ideas on living into resurrection in your own life and community, check out our free Easter devotional where we share 8 practices to live into Easter renewal.
To learn more about Sarah’s work of journeying with local leaders in Saskatoon’s Westside, visit this page.