Yes America, your socialists do want to take your guns and your land, and herd you into little beehive-like urban communities, so they can make you happy forever more.
All over America… communists, socialists and Marxists have been leading the charge for “gun control.”
A case in point occurred in Harlem on March 21st, where “more than 2,000 predominantly Black and Latino working people gathered on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd… in a militant protest against gun violence.”
California Legislator Nancy Skinner
The organizer of that event was Leslie Cagan, a life-long pro-Cuban communist and leading “peace” activist.
Another Marxist leading the charge to destroy American liberty is a Democrat member of the California State Legislature, representing, the 14th Assembly District (which includes Berkeley), Nancy Skinner.
In January, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner unveiled her bill to crack down on guns or ammunition.
Assembly Bill 48 would require sellers of ammunition to be licensed and for purchasers to show identification. All sales would be reported to the Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice would be required under AB 48 to notify local law enforcement of large-quantity purchases over a five-day period by an individual who is not a peace officer.
AB 48 also would ban the manufacture, sale or import of any device that enables a gun to fire more than 10 rounds at one time.
While nominally a Democrat, Nancy Skinner has also been a member of the US’ largest Marxist organization, the pro-Gramsci communists of Democratic Socialists of America.
Skinner is a veteran of an ’80s trip to Marxist-Leninist Nicaragua. She has also worked for pro-communist California congresswoman Barbara Lee.
But Skinner has mainly used environmentalism to push her socialism.
A “nationally renowned leader in the fight against global warming,” Nancy Skinner founded ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, an organization “dedicated to helping local governments around the world become environmental leaders.” As Executive Director of ICLEI’s U.S. office, Skinner launched the Cities for Climate Protection program — the “US movement of Mayors and cities working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that now involves over 500 U.S. cities and counties.”
ICLEI of course is the main promoter of “Agenda 21,” the United Nations’ (read Russian), plan to de-industrialize America and drive the vast bulk of your rural population into easily manged urban population centers.
As U.S. Director of The Climate Group, a London based organization, Nancy Skinner worked with Fortune 500 companies, clean tech industries and state and national leaders to pass groundbreaking legislation such as California’s global warming bill AB 32.
She also organized the July 2006 Climate & Energy Roundtable with Governor Schwarzenegger, Prime Minister Tony Blair and fellow radical, former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and 15 Fortune 500 CEOs, that paved the way for Governor Schwarzenegger’s signing of AB 32.
In 2004, Nancy Skinner brought global warming to the attention of the National Association of State Insurance Commissioners and was instrumental in NAIC’s establishment of an Executive Task Force on Insurance and Climate Change. Last year the NAIC Task Force released a white paper on the Potential Impact of Climate Change on Insurance Regulation and is currently undertaking a Climate Risk Disclosure Survey for insurance firms operating in the US.
Nancy Skinner also served on the California Energy Commission’s Climate Change Advisory Committee and then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Clean Technology Task Force.
So why does Nancy Skinner want to take your guns? A misguided attempt to save you from criminals?
Or is it just a another logical step on the socialist road?
If you have guns, you’re hard to control. People like Nancy Skinner don’t like people who do not like to be controlled.
Way too messy.
Nancy Skinner and her thousands of comrades have a plan for your life. To get you where you’re too stupid enough to see where you need to go, they’re going to have to take your guns. They cannot leave you with the ability to resist their enlightened plans. This is for your own good.
People control. That’s what this is all about. Nothing more, nothing less.
Modern progressivism, belief in human progress, various brands of socialism, and even communism itself are all steeped in a modern philosophy of history that is rooted in the Judeo-Christian apocalyptic tradition. Unlike the Greco-Roman world, which believed that history was either strictly secular or inextricably bound up with pagan notions of Eternal Return reflecting the circular cycles of nature, many socialist and political progressives often presume that the historical future itself is linear, eschatological, redemptive, and utopian.
In Christian theology, eschatology means the study of the last things which views history as linear process rushing toward an apocalypse of final judgment and salvation. Strangely enough, modern progressivism believes likewise, albeit dressed up in secular terminology and political evolutionary jargon.
Plato’s Republic (360 B.C.) may have been viewed as a utopian ideal, but the classical mind never believed that the historical process itself was heading towards a fulfillment of that particular goal. Thus, while modern leftists routinely mock the Judeo-Christian apocalypse, prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments, which promises an eschatological goal of ultimate judgment and salvation, they remain completely unaware how they themselves are false prophets of what can easily be characterized as secular apocalypticism and/or millenarianism. Millenarianism is the belief of many Christians that at the end of history, there will be a Messianic utopian kingdom set up on the earth after the Second Coming of Christ before the eternal state (Revelation 19-22).
Paradoxically, while many Protestants were strongly developing apocalyptic millennial views during the 1800’s on a scale not before seen in church history, the political left was writing up their own eschatological plan for human history on a parallel secular track. In particular, Marxists and socialists hotwired political science with eschatology by secularizing the Judeo-Christian Apocalypse. Apocalyptic prophecies were essentially ripped out of their biblical context and then applied to an ever-increasing variety of secular events so that much of its social justice was based on a political millennialism loaded with eschatological self-righteousness.
Beginning with the French Revolution (1787-99), the contrast between scientific technological progress on the one hand, and a dark background of social oppression on the other hand, began to strongly insinuate itself into the modern mind. Teachers, professors, and leaders of modern academia became increasingly preoccupied with social evil throughout the 1800s. As such, they began shifting their reasoning powers from the natural sciences to the social and/or political sciences. More critical, since they believed that social evil was not due to the inherent sinfulness of man, it must exist somewhere within the unequal political relationships of society. The social conditions of society, therefore, needed to be changed — and for revolutionaries like Marx, Lenin, and the National Socialists, the sooner the better. Remarkably, the technological progress of the natural sciences bred more and more discontentment among social and political scientists.
Such leftist passions for secular redemption have led to insoluble political burdens which continue to haunt the modern mindset as ideologues, policy analysts, and politicians foist upon unsuspecting populaces the full crushing weight of their apocalyptic concerns. One of the most glaring examples of modern secular eschatology is where environmental preachers prophesy a global warming apocalypse that is threatening the entire planet with floodwaters not seen since Noah’s Flood. Modern environmentalists have managed to profane the apocalypse by trying to saddle governments and their peoples with suffocating burdens and responsibilities that can never be resolved this side of the grave.
The practice of horrific social engineering schemes by Communists and Marxists turned the 20th century into one gigantic socialist slaughterhouse that affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people, not to mention the virtual slavery left behind in the lives of those who were not sacrificed. By taking salvation into their own secular hands, they tried to convert history itself into an evolutionary forum of political science in which utopian man will develop himself into an entirely new man not beset by limiting or unfavorable social circumstances that once was known as the Fall of mankind. Progressivism tried to sow utopia but reaped catastrophe instead.
Mixing political science with eschatology invariably leads to science fiction. Modern progressivism has willfully confused mundane evolutionary changes that historically occur within societies with various forms of political salvation. As such, they are religiously and blindly devoting themselves to political myths that they themselves will never be able to enjoy. Marxism, socialism, and environmentalism are apocalyptic myths of the modern leftist imagination. Yet the debt incurred by their dreams is billowing up into a potential financial Armageddon.
Furthermore, the political disillusionments and grave disappointments many Marxists, socialists, and environmentalists often complain about cannot be ameliorated by a future utopian state, as they so often presume. The suffering of the past is already a historical fact that cries out for justice just as much as any future generation that follows it. Worse, secular eschatology invariably degrades all previous generations to the status of a mere means to a future utopian end that virtually none of its peoples will ever be able to share in for the simple reason they were born at the wrong time. Secularism and utopian social justice therefore cannot be reconciled. Such a mixture is contradicted and limited by its own secularization.
In his critical essay, “Philosophies of History,” Rolf Gruner aptly concludes, “A man who suffers here and now cannot be consoled by being told that his misery serves a purpose in that it plays its necessary part in ensuring a glorious future for generations still to come. What matters to him is his life, and perhaps that of some of his contemporaries and immediate successors, not the life of people who will be born when he has been long dead; why should he have any interest in being a means to their happiness or perfection? In this respect traditional Christianity is on much stronger ground … for according to its teaching each individual has access to a state of bliss in a future life to which his suffering in this life is essentially related.”
The Bible specifically prophesies a future Messianic and/or heavenly Kingdom of eschatological social justice precisely because it presumes and predicts the resurrection of the dead. Without the resurrection of the dead, a hopeful goal-orientated redemptive view of history is utter nonsense — something which the classical world would have well understood. Modern progressivism and eschatology are a confusion of categories and contradiction of terms to which Winston Churchill once quipped, “There are two places only where socialism will work; in heaven where it is not needed, and in hell where they already have it.”
Feeling lucky comrade? It’s exactly what you would expect from Google, whose motto is “Don’t be evil.” If they ever meant that, they failed miserably as proven by today’s home page which honors Socialist Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday. It is a slap in the face to every Christian on the planet and is just downright evilly blasphemous. Google has been known for dissing the Founder’s birthdays and American history in favor of Marxist ideals and Islamic tradition. This time, they really let their mask fall.
Take a trip down Marxist memory lane to Veteran’s Day 2010:
At least Bing was not as bad – they displayed a beautiful picture of Ukrainian Easter Eggs for their chosen page today. I can live with that – but an avowed Alinsky Socialist who was honored by our Marxist president? That just pisses me off. I’m not the only one either.
The late Cesar Chavez was a labor organizer who founded the United Farm Workers Union. President Barack Obama released a statement in 2011 proclaiming March 31st “Cesar Chavez Day,” declaring, “I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy.” It’s his 86th birthday and all the Marxists are celebrating one of the premier community organizers of their lifetimes.
In 1947, Saul Alinsky hired Fred Ross, an experienced organizer among California’s migrant farmworkers. Ross built the Community Service Organization in several cities, mostly among Latinos, recruiting new members and identifying potential leaders through house meetings and one-on-one conversations. In San Jose, California, one of the people Ross recruited was César Chávez, whom Ross hired and trained as an organizer. Chávez would later adopt these organizing ideas in starting the United Farm Workers union.
Trained for several years in Chicago, by the great agitator Saul Alinsky, an inspiration to DSA, Hillary Clinton and Obama himself, Cesar Chavez worked with communists and socialists his entire career.
Chavez marched under the infamous slogan “Si se puede!” – later translated into English to become Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan “Yes we can!” Many of the same radicals that marched with Chavez wound up working with Barack Obama. An identical Marxist ideology was carried forward into the Obama Administration. Among the biggest names in the Alinsky/communist/socialist movement include former Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, DSA icon Dolores Huerta and Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa. California’s 32nd District Rep. Judy Chu also has Chavez ties and was a long-time affiliate of the now defunct Communist Workers Party.
I have long said that if you can, don’t use Google. Use Bing or another search engine. Google is so prevalent though, it is difficult to do this. If you are a Christian or a Conservative Constitutionalist, your principles may dictate that you find a way to get away from this Marxist propaganda tool that is being wielded by Obama and his cronies.
Some will say Google is doing this just to get attention. No, they don’t need the attention. This is who they are. Google has only once honored Easter and that was in 2000. Must have been a slow year for Marxists.
Glenn Beck got it right as so many did on Twitchy:
So, let me get this straight… Google, which is a propaganda arm for Obama, celebrates a socialist radical and disses Easter and the Resurrection. That is Google’s right and it is our right to tell them to pound sand and go elsewhere. Bing is looking better and better these days.
This is not the first time that Google has chosen to honor leftists over tradition. Back on July 4, Google plastered the words “This Land Was Made For You And Me” in its logo, in honor of Communist fellow-traveler Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land. On Christmas, Google featured a holiday-themed logo that popped up this window: “Happy Holidays from Google!”
Google can, and likely will switch out to an Easter logo sometime today. But as millions of Christians return home from Easter vigil on the holiest day of their calendar, they are currently being greeted by Cesar Chavez in a white suit.
Remember, Obama, the Department of Education and the Common Core Standards are teaching in our schools that Cesar Chavez is a “hero of the people.” Only if you are Marxist is this true. And now you see the U.S. government in true fascist style, place ideologues over faith. Every time I see pictures such as Cesar Chavez or more commonly Barack Obama’s arrogant visage, I see snapshots of Stalin, Mao, Lenin and Hitler in my mind’s eye. The faces have changed, but not the Google evil message.
The wondrous majesty of Easter is once again upon us. As we recount the Passion and the supreme sacrifice that our Lord and King offered humanity let us remember that this is a time to exult in the divine blessings of our Lord and glorify Him for the priceless gift He conferred to us on that first Easter morning by the Resurrection of His Only-Begotten Son, our Savior
This most precious gift, the supreme of all divine miracles, the victory of victories, set a new path for humanity, awakening our spirits and replenishing our souls with new strength, new joy, new hope, and new life. The Resurrection opened a new door, giving meaning and direction to an otherwise empty and mortal life; it is the passage into God’s presence. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” (John 10:9)
It is this resurrection that Christians celebrate every Easter, and it’s this resurrection that gives Christians everywhere the assurance of their faith and validates the promises of eternity with God. (John 3:16; Romans 3:22-26)
The Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Church of Corinth speaks to the fallen church and corrupt nature of man and outlines the proper conduct for following Christ and of the absolute necessity of Christ’s resurrection. It is as if he could be speaking to us this very day. This is a call to repentance and one we must open our ears and hearts to and head today.
It is this call to repentance and prayers for revival that we will focus our attention on over the coming months in an effort of national healing.
From the inception of the Black Robe Regiment it was our desire to create something of meaning and relevance, and to create a place where concerned Christians and faith leaders can come together and grow and learn and apply their faith in our everyday secular lives. It was our hope that this would resonate with the people and would grow organically. As such we have not tried to steer the organization towards any specific ends but simply tried to put information out there and unite people in common cause. With the Salt and Light Institute we wanted to provide educational opportunities for all on a myriad of topics. Although the Salt and Light Institute was initially well received and growing, the loss of our venue and lack of funding to secure another more permanent location had stalled out plans up to now.
We are however making plans for a renewal of efforts and developing some exciting new initiatives in which we would like to ask for your support and blessings.
We will begin looking for a suitable venue in which to reestablish the Salt and Light Institute and revitalize our initial plans of offering trainings, seminars and courses on a continual basis from this new facility. We will also begin looking at regional course offerings that we can create and offer to host churches and organizations around the country. We are blessed to have a number of nationally known historians, scholars, and instructors who have expressed interest in joining with us in this endeavor. Over the coming months be on the lookout for future announcements of offerings from the Salt and Light Institute.
Secondly, we have partnered with One Nation Under God Radio and are developing a series of national revival conferences to be held throughout the US in 2013 and beyond. This series will be called The Great Awakening IV. The inaugural conference is to be held in Plymouth MA June 20th – 22nd. We would like to invite all of you to join with us for this time of renewal, revival, and national healing. Please visit www.greatawakeningiv.org for registration and complete conference details.
So as you can see we are embarking on a new course with renewed attention and focus on reaching out to people directly and providing opportunities for you to get involved within your locality. We humbly ask for your support, your prayers, and your blessings.
Tax deductible donations can be made to the Salt and Light Institute HERE.
Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to invite us to speak to your group or to host a Salt and Light seminar or Great Awakening IV event.
Thank you in advance for your support and blessings. We hope that you and family will be blessed as we remember and celebrate Gods greatest gift and the sacrifice on the cross of a Savior who loved us so much. Let us be inspired by this life-bearing message and promise of the Resurrection, let us join the angels of the Lord in triumphantly proclaiming, Christ is Risen from the dead. He has conquered death so that we might have eternal life.
This Easter weekend, we remember the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate gift. As first preached, the first Easter by Paul Dwight Moody in 1910 to Billy Graham’s final public sermon on July 7, 2009, the message is clear.
God loves you and He sacrificed His Son, so you may live.
Accept His ultimate sacrifice and you will receive a permanent and eternal relationship with Him, forever and ever, amen. Pride stops most folks from Christ.
Graham has preached the Gospel in person to more people than any other person in history.
According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, many to the altar call song “Just As I Am” As of 2008, Graham’s lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion. (read more)
“I have seen the Lord.” – John 20:18, Revised Version. “I have seen the Lord.”
In these words we have the first Easter sermon ever preached. For nineteen centuries since then countless preachers in all the different sects of Christendom have yearly preached their Easter sermons, but the honor of preaching the first Easter sermons belongs to a woman.
This was, moreover, in a day when woman held a low place in the estimate of man, and in no corner of the world was she thought much less of than in this very land of Syria. And this woman, Mary of Magdala, was one who had been looked upon with aversion certainly, and possibly with pity, for she had been afflicted with a complaint, the nature of which was so awful whatever it may have been, that she was said to possess seven devils.
There was not a single follower of our Lord whom the disciples would not sooner have named as a candidate for the high honor which was ultimately hers, for by all the canons by which they – and we like them – passed judgment she was probably neither spiritual nor even good. According to the Jewish view that suffering was the result of and punishment for sin, Mary was a great sinner or passed for such in their eyes.
How came it then that this woman, despised and neglected until the Master came, should have been ordained the first preacher of the resurrection, and so, in a measure, the first Christian preacher? If we trace the story perhaps we shall see the reason for this.
TRACING THE STORY
Upon that first morning of the week, early, when it was yet dark – and dark in more than one sense of the word, for the darkness without was light as compared to the gloom in the hearts of Jesus’ friends – came Mary Magdalene to the tomb. To come she had to conquer all her womanly fears of the darkness, her superstitions – so rank in a Jewish breast – her natural terror in the lonely presence of a tomb. But love had aided her to do this, and she had come through the darkness to Joseph’s tomb to do what little remained of service to the body of her Friend – the One who had brought healing and comfort and happiness into her troubled life. Although now she could make no return for His goodness, show Him no gratitude or sign of devotion, she found relief in being near His grave.
It was the grave of Israel’s hopes. In her confused mind she had taken in but little of His words, but must have shared with His disciples the confident hope that ere long He would restore the kingdom of Israel – He, another David, but undefiled by sin; another Maccabeaus, but tasting no defeat. And now He was resting in a dishonored grave, having drawn no sword, having won no victory and no crown!
It is to her credit that she came at this time when all else had fled, and when He could no longer bring her happiness.
Through the darkness she describes that the stone has been rolled back from the mouth of the tomb. It is not hope which leads her to see this, but despair: and in despair she runs to tell those who have a right to know – the disciples. John and Peter set out for the tomb, and John, the younger perhaps, seems to have outstripped Peter. But at the tomb he pauses, detained perhaps by reverence, perhaps by fear, till Peter, ever impulsive, comes and leaps in. John follows and they find the tomb empty. John, writing his narrative long after, tells us that he “saw and believed.”
Saw and believed what? That Jesus was risen?
Hardly, we think. Two things disprove it: the express statement, “For as yet they knew not the Scripture that He must rise again from the dead,” and then the fact that they went to their homes. Had they believed in anything more than the emptiness of the tomb they could never have returned quietly to their homes.
An empty tomb is an important feature of the resurrection, but it is a small part. That is not the dynamic which sends men and women to the uttermost part of the earth. Christ’s resurrection was to mean infinitely more than an empty tomb. Men to the present day who hunger for certain proof of immortality submit this story to the most microscopic examination by all the canons of historical criticism, and the evidence will always yield one fact – that the tomb was empty; yes, and that its occupant had risen, leaving it of His own volition. But the resurrection is more than this.
Though grief and curiosity carry them to the tomb on the run, they return to their homes puzzled and alarmed when they find the tomb empty. But Mary remains. What caused her to do this is as uncertain as the object of her coming to the grave, unless it was what we may call the unreasonableness of love. She had not followed them into the tomb, nor even now did she enter. But she waited, for here at this spot, barren of all hope and consolation as it seemed, the body of her Lord had last been seen. And her waiting was rewarded, for as she stooped to look through the meager light of the dawning day into the shadowy recesses of the tomb she saw the angel messengers – saw them through the haze of her tears. John and Peter had seen nothing at all. Their curious eyes – even though they entered the tomb – saw nothing but its emptiness and the linen clothes; but the weeping eyes of Mary saw.
Many of us are slow to realize that in the realm of spiritual things there are some truths visible only through the lens of tears. We darken or smoke glass when we desire to look at the brilliance of the sun. In like manner, through our tears we sometimes see things hidden generally from the sight of men. Tears are often telescopes, if you will, bringing near to our sight things otherwise far off; often microscopes, revealing hidden beauty and design in little things which the world calls ugly and coarse and purposeless. The Christian on his knees, we are told, sees further than the philosopher on his housetop. Yes, and the Christian through his tears often sees truths invisible to the keenest sight.
The angels have surprise for Mary’s grief, but they offer her no comfort, for behind her in the background they see One standing, waiting. When His children weep, he Master is always near by. He may be unheeded, but He is not far off.
Never a sigh of passion or of pity,
Never a wail for weakness or for wrong,
Has not its archive in the angels’ city,
Finds not its echo in the endless song.
Not as one blind and deaf to our beseeching,
Neither forgetful that we are but dust,
Not as from heaven too high for our up reaching,
Coldly sublime, intolerably just;
Nay, but Thou knowest us, Lord Christ,
Well Thou remeberest our feeble frame!
Thou canst conceive our highest and our lowest
Pulses of nobleness and aches of shame.
[The above quotation is from Frederick Myers, St. Paul (London: Macmillan & Co, 1892), p. 15.]
Mary turns at last, thinking the presence of which she is conscious is the gardener’s; so often is He near us that we think it something less. She does not know Him until He speaks her name. But at this sound, sorrow and sighing flee away as clouds before the sun, and in an instant the gloom and darkness of her night of despair are changed into the sunshine of that first glorious Easter morning. And Mary receives her commission – the commission and message which is the certain sign of every true vision or sight of the Lord – and returns to the city which in the darkness she had left with greater darkness in her heart, returns thought the morning sunshine with a great light flooding and warming in her heart. And then in the city, in those glad tidings of the resurrection, she becomes the first preacher of an Easter message.
Let us see, if we can, the meaning of this Easter message of Mary’s. In the first flush of the joy that was hers, Mary little realized all the content and extent of her words. She could not estimate the full significance of what it all meant. Mary’s heart was busier than her brain, and tears of joy doubtless interfered with the process of computing the full importance of the news she carried. Aye, and after nineteen centuries (though from our childhood we have known the story), our hearts give a great bound when we read again these words: “I have seen the Lord,” and realize, however faintly, all that they mean.
Her message meant for one thing that at last Death had found an equal and superior, and had been conquered.
This same Galilean had stood by the grave, and by the power which God had given Him called forth its prey; but now for the first time from within, not by miracle from without, Death had been overcome. For our sakes the sinless Son of God had suffered the defilement of the touch of Death, but suffered only the touch. We naturally, for we owe too much to it, shrink back from imaging how for hours, all unseen, in the desolate shades of the underworld, a struggle has gone on in which all the powers of Hell were taxed to their utmost to keep in the place they had appointed for Him this one quiet Man who alone had resisted their hitherto limitless tyranny.
But at the hour set, He passed from their grasp victorious by His own pure sinlessness – passed from the loathsome grip of Death – passed through the great iron doors of Death, leaving them open, forever open, making a broad pathway to life which all who follow Him may tread, leaving His enemies vanquished, prostrate and bound and becoming Himself the first fruits of them that slept, indicating that all the rest of the vast harvest of the sleeping dead belong not to the Evil One but to God. Of this weird and awful struggle He bore no scars (save the nail prints in His hands and the deep wound in His heart) whereby we may recognize Him as our Lord and Master when we see Him. Made perfect through suffering, He has become the Captain of our salvation, and at His shout we will all respond, for He has Himself already for us won the battle.
Again, the resurrection set the seal of God’s approval on the work of Jesus.
Mary doubtless did not realize this in all its fullness, but to us (as in our day we consider all that the resurrection means) it is not the least that it is the earnest of God’s acceptance of the finished work of Jesus. We might not know with the certainty which can be ours that this was the Son of God were it not for the resurrection. We do not derive our belief in Christ’s deity alone from this, but the sure evidence that He rose from the dead places beyond dispute that which our hearts already recognize – that there is a difference between Him and all others. Others have died in behalf of their cause.
Others have believed in their mission and found an even readier acceptance of their teaching among the men of their own day, as Mahomet did. Other have, for the time being, seemed just as real to the eyes of their infatuated followers as Jesus did. But Death has put an end to all their claims and pretenses alike. Yet Death, when it touched Him, but recognized its Lord, for He overthrew it.
Great and wonderful as these things are, the resurrection of which Mary was first herald has yet another meaning. It is over this we pause. While the fact that Christ was victorious over the grave may comfort us in sorrow, and the truth that the resurrection is the sign of God’s approval may cheer and strengthen us if distressed by problems in theology, there is yet a more practical aspect to the meaning of the resurrection. For though now and again God causes His children to go through the affliction of bereavement, that which is only of use as comfort at such a time is of limited value as compared with all the resurrection means.
The simple statement of Mary: “I have seen the Lord,” meant – though she could hardly have measured all its significance in the first rush of joy – that the historical Jesus of Nazareth had become the Savior of universal experience, and that the matchless Man of the first generation of the Christian era had become Christ of all time. Death had not destroyed Him or taken Him away but had rather freed Him from the shackles of time and place so that He Who in His body could be in but one place, could now be with all men everywhere.
No longer need men travel to find Him, for He is very nigh unto all of them. When Nicodemus came to Jesus that night in Jerusalem, he alone of all that crowded city could enjoy the Master by Himself. Now in palace or in hovel, on the throne or in the dungeon, by day or by night, wherever the heart truly seeks Him, there He may be found. Jesus traveled to the afflicted home of Lazarus for days that to the waiting and sorrowing household seemed endless. Now He stands instantly by the side of the dying and mourner alike.
Time and space no longer bind Him. Stone walls are powerless to hold Him, nor can armed guards keep or drive us from His presence. No long and dreary and costly journeys to bring us to His presence in distant Palestine, for “closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet.” Those who have learned the message of Mary by their own experience know the unspeakable preciousness of this very truth – that Jesus lives as much today as ever.
Loud mockers in the roaring street
Say Christ is crucified again;
Twice pierced His Gospel-bearing feet,
Twice broken His great heart in vain.
I hear, and to myself I smile,
For Christ talks with me all the while.
No angle now to roll the stone
From off His unwaking sleep;
In vain shall Mary watch alone,
In vain the soldiers vigil keep.
Yet while they dream my Lord is dead
My eyes are on His shining head.
Ah, never more shall Mary hear
That voice exceeding sweet and low
Within the garden calling clear;
Her Lord is gone, and she must go!
Yet all the while my Lord I meet
In every London lane and street.
Poor Lazarus shall wait in vain,
And Bartimaeus still go blind;
The hearing hem shall ne’er again
Be touched by suffering humankind.
Yet all the while I see them rest,
The poor and outcast, on His breast.
No more unto the stubborn heart
With gentle knocking shall He plead;
No more the mystic pity start,
For Christ twice died is dead indeed.
So in the street I hear men say,
Yet Christ is with me all the day.
[Quoted from Robert La Gallienne, The Second Crucifixion]
We will not try to contrast the value of these different meanings of the resurrection, but surely this is not the least of them, that Christ is risen and still walks the earth.
No fable old, no mythic lore,
No dream of bard or seers,
No dead fact stranded on the shore
Of the oblivious years;
But warm, sweet, tender, even yet
A present help is He,
And faith has yet its Olivet,
And love its Galilee.
[Quoted from John Greenleaf Whittier, The Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co, 1886), p. 320, “Our Master.”]
The form of Mary’s sermon interests us. All we know of it is that it was the statement of a fact of personal experience: “I have seen the Lord.” It may have included more, but we doubt it. There is no indication of argument, explanation, or citation of circumstances which might be considered analogous. There are no quotations of Scripture. Nor is there any elaboration of her credibility as a witness. There is only the plain statement of the fact: “I have seen the Lord.”
This is the ideal form of a sermon and is what every sermon shall be – the declaration of a fact – the heralding of the Gospel which is good news. Men are asking, when dead in earnest, for no metaphysical arguments on the possibility of the great facts of our faith, and they are but superficially interested in learned disquisitions on the credibility of the sources of our knowledge, but they do demand a statement of the great facts. The church has had enough, and more than enough, of the lawyer with his pleas and the judge with his decisions, and needs and cries for the witness with his plain declaration.
There is a place for discussions of credibility, perhaps, and for psychological arguments and investigations, and the lawyer and the judge have their places in the great temple of Christian truth. But the herald has no call to defend, only to announce; and the ideal sermon is neither apologetic nor a philippic for a decision, but a declaration and invitation – a declaration of the Father’s love and an invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
….should be preachers of the resurrection, for it is at the very core of our faith. If Christ rose not, then preaching and faith are alike vain, and of all men are we the most miserable. And though we may not be called upon to herald it in great cathedrals or crowded churches, still by life and word we are to declare that the Lord has risen.
Every man or woman who takes upon himself the name of Christ honestly, subscribes to the belief that He rose from the grave and thereby witnesses to that belief. And this we must preach. And if the resurrection is real to us, we will. We must declare that the Lord is risen – that we have seen the Lord. And if we have, we will; for every true vision contains in it that which makes its beholder an evangelist. For the person fresh from contact with the living Lord there is only one thing to do: tell about it. Tell about it he will; the very light on his face would reveal that he had seen the Lord if his lips were dumb.
But inevitable as it is that one who has seen the Lord shall tell about it, it is as impossible for one who has never seen Him to preach this. Many have given intellectual assent to the position that Christ rose, for it can be proven, they feel, by many a process.
The resurrection is a fact, but they cannot say: “I have seen the Lord,” and their testimony is powerless. Or it may have been that whereas once they saw Him, it was so long ago that the vision has faded – lost in the clouds and mists that always rise from the lowlands of selfish, useless life. They no longer feel the reality of it. The fact has passed from the forefront to the background of their consciousness.
Yet it is even more than the declaration of a fact from deep conviction. The objective side is here, but the subjective is also here in this great message of Mary’s. “I,” said Mary, “have seen the Lord.”
It is not the statement that the Lord has risen, great that would be; nor is it the declaration, however earnest, that others have seen Him. It is no second-hand information that Mary brings. Her own personality is enwrapped in the message.
It is a great and blessed thing to declare our conviction of certain truths which we have never, perhaps, ourselves experienced, but such declarations carry but small weights compared with the message linked to our personality. It may do some good to others to say that he, or she, or someone else has had a vision of the Lord, but if we would make Him real to others – would prove to others that He yet walks the earth and may be known to men – we must say:
“I have seen the Lord.”
If we take our stand, unashamed, by our experience, then our experience becomes real to the world about us. Let us but be untrue to a vision, and the world will doubt the truth and reality of that vision. This is worthy of emphasis, for the one thing this world hungers for is certain conviction that that which it hopes for is really so. Over and over again the question is asked:
“Do you believe what you are saying when you declare sublime truths? Are you sure? Have you seen the Lord?”
Tell a needy and a dying world that the Lord of love is not dead but here in our midst; and that you yourself know of His presence not because of a father’s, or mother’s, or a pastor’s conviction of this point, but because you yourself have come into living contact with Him – have seen Him – and hope will kindle in despairing hearts and men will rise up to serve God and be new men, saved by reason of your vision.
Why was it that of the generation which is passing, few men every preached so meaningly and so powerfully as one who always called himself “an old bum”? He had but one message. His was no efficiency gained in college or seminary. Sometimes he was tempted to imitate other men a little, and to preach conventionally, but at such times he was always ill at ease until he threw over such attempts and made his way back to the old facts he was familiar with, and told again how the Lord came to him as he sat ding on a beer keg in a saloon, how He came to him and saved him.
Sam Hadley had seen the Lord, and said so; and though we might hear that story again and again it never failed to touch the heart and make Christ real, as many an able discourse or learned exposition was powerless to do. [Sam Hadley became a famous missionary to the down and out in New York. In 1870, he had been fired from his job and became an alcoholic. Later when in jail, he reported that he saw demons telling him to kill himself, but he also heard Jesus saying, “pray.” Pray he did, asking for Jesus to have mercy on him.
When Sam was released from jail, he went to his brother’s house and attended church with him. At that service in 1882, he committed his life to Christ, and four years later he became the Superintendent of the Water Street Mission, where he had earlier committed his own life to Christ. Sam held that post until his death in 1906.]
This is what the world needs – men and women to whom the great fact is that they have seen the Lord. This is what we must tell the world. We need not theorize or argue. The world cares little for our theories and less for our arguments, but it is hungry for a knowledge of Him and for the certain assurance that He is knowable.·
HOW MANY GAINED THIS VISION
It is important and helpful for us to see how Mary gained this vision, and thus won the high honor of being the first Easter preacher. Whenever a man or a woman has preeminently been gained through some experience or another which we may hold in part accountable for the message. Great heights are never gained without a struggle, and when a man or woman sees further than those about him, or sees more deeply or clearly, it is because of something added which is the others did not have.
What accounts for Mary’s keeper sight?
Whatever we make of the expression “seven devils,” we know that it was an affliction which must have led in those days, when all suffering was felt to be the result of sin, to her ostracism. Some would have us think it has a mental significance and that Mary, till she met our lord, was afflicted with epilepsy, or was insane, or a mental degenerate.
Others, that it has a moral significance and that Mary was a moral degenerate and without the pale of society; hence has come the meaning of “Magdalene” which properly means merely an inhabitant of the village of Magdala. Whatever the meaning of the expression, however, whether Mary was a mental or moral degenerate, she was probably the last person the twelve would have chosen, or even thought of, for this high honor. The scribes and Pharisees would have shunned her as a leper, and the priests would have drawn aside their white robes as they passed her lest they should be defiled by the accursed thing.
So it could not have been her social position or her influence which secured her this honor. The little village of Magdala from which she came lives in our recollection only as Domremy [the village where Joan the Arc was much later born, around 1412], for instance, for the daughter to whom it gave birth.
It could hardly have been brilliance of intellect. This simple peasant woman doubtless could not read or write, and it is improbably that she knew anything of the law or the prophets. She was, in short, of all women the most unlikely for this position it would seem.
But she had one claim, and that the best. She loved. Love for this Man who could no longer do aught for her had brought her to the tomb when the disciples and all others had gone to their homes. Maternal love is strong, but the Virgin had left the lonely tomb.
The love of a strong man for his friend will bear much, but the loving John and the devoted Peter had gone back to the city. Mary stayed on. We have said it was unreasonable; and in a worldly sense it was. But, reason or folly, love bound her to the spot where last she had seen the body of her Lord. No hope had dawned in her breast. Faith, too, in all but His goodness would seem to have disappeared. A greater than she was later to write that faith and hope are two of the very great things, but that love is greater than either of these. And love has outlasted faith and hope, and here, as so often, proved itself the greatest and most enduring.
Aye and when prophecy her tale hath finished,
Knowledge hath withered from the trembling tongue,
Love shall survive, and love be undiminished,
Love be imperishable, love be young.
Love was believing, and the best is truest;
Love would hope ever, and the trust was gain;
Love that endured shall learn that Thou renewest;
Love, even Thine, O Master, with Thy pain!
[Quoting from Frederick Myers, St. Paul (London: Macmillan & Co, 1892), pp. 29-30.]
There are some who will not listen to this sermon of Mary’s. For them indeed He is dead.
For hence he lies
In the lorn Syrian town,
And on his grave with shining eyes
The Syrian stars look down.
[Quoting from Matthew Arnold, New Poems (London: Macmillan, 1867), “Obermann Once More”.]
For such, death is and ever must be the inscrutable mystery. Easter brings to such no uplift and no joy. For them we must have the profoundest pity.
There are others for whom the resurrection is real, who admit it as a fact and know that in it they find the proof of their own resurrection and the credential of the efficacy of the work of Jesus. Yet, nevertheless, in their hearts there is no sermon like Mary’s. They must say: “The Lord has risen,” or “Such an one has seen Him,” but they have not seen Him; they cannot say: “I have seen.”
We know very well that we are gifted and trained beyond Mary, that we are endowed with more insight, that we have all the right to preach that she had; yet upon our lips the words have a hollow ring when we declare this truth. We affirm that we have seen Him; yet we have no such message as Mary’s which may send us out with speedy feet to share with others the glad news. The reason for it is that we have not seen Him through the eyes of love. We have not loved enough. It was love that first unlocked the fact of the resurrection. It was love which was the force that spurred Mary on and which was her commission.
Surely this is a glorious and a comforting doctrine. We are not gifted, perhaps, and may have no talents, or certainly no great ones. Birth and circumstance may have forever closed to us certain avenues of service. We are cut off from any hope of being of service to God along certain lines.
We are not even good by our own weak standards, to say nothing of the higher standard of God of which we hardly dare to think. Yet, as followers of Christ and believers in the resurrection, we are called upon to be preachers of it. The one supreme qualification which we may have is love. Through love we will discover those things which the Spirit reveals to those who love Him, and not only will we gain our message through love but by love will we be empowered to preach it. Love was the sum substance of the first great Easter sermon, and since that day it has always been the first qualification of the preacher, and the essential part of every Easter message.