Opinion: In response to anti-Christian graffiti on Easter at Tahoe churches
Special to the Bonanza
Have you ever heard the expression, “The writing’s on the wall”? It usually speaks of some impending and inevitable doom. It comes from the Book of Daniel, chap. 5, where a disembodied hand writes the Aramaic words, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin,” on the wall of a banquet hall. Later, Daniel accurately interprets the cryptic words as a sign of the imminent end of Belshazzar and his empire.
For any who may have missed it, on Easter Sunday morning all the churches in Incline Village were discovered to have been tagged during the night. Here at St. Pat’s, we were greeted with the words “A Lie” and “A Hoax,” with arrows pointing at the Cross, painted on the wall by the front door, along with other graffiti around the building.
In Daniel’s time, the writing on the wall spoke of doom. But for us, it couldn’t have come on a better day. The Romans thought the Good Friday cross was the end of Jesus, and doom for the revolutionary movement that surrounded him.
But a short three days later, the Roman Empire’s hope in that cross was indeed shown to be “A Lie” and “A Hoax.” Our revolutionary movement didn’t die on the cross, but rose again to new life, along with our Savior.
And for 2,000 years we have continued on, struggling to make this world a better place; a kinder, more compassionate, and loving place.
Have there been false starts along the way? Sure. Especially today, when broad and loud swaths of Christianity have sadly made it so the last word the average person would associate with our religion is “love.”
Perhaps that’s what led to the anger so broadly directed at all of us Incline churches. But, like the Roman’s false hope that a cross would end our faith, the taggers’ hope that a defaced cross would dishearten us is also “A Lie,” and “A Hoax.”
For just as Jesus rose victorious, so too does our faith. When confronted with anger and lashing out, we will rise with renewed determination and dedication to make this world a better place, fit to be called God’s Kingdom. A world of radical hope, forgiveness, compassion, and love in action has become even more clearly our focus once again.
As we recently heard during Holy Week, when dying on the cross, Jesus said: “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.” Hopefully that remains our plea today for our taggers. And perhaps we should go even further, and offer them a thank you.
For from this challenge, we rise to new life to proclaim and live love, putting off any finger pointing, judging, condemning, and any other of the distractions Christians seem so caught up in today. That writing on the wall spells impending doom, allright, but not for us.
It’s doom for darkness, despair, hopelessness, and brokenness. And we invite anyone and everyone form North Lake Tahoe to come join us in the effort!
The Rev. Eric V. Heidecker is pastor at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Incline Village.
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