I heard from so many people that they had added thoughts from my Huffington Post “Is Easter ‘Happy’?” column to their Easter sermons. Getting this feedback from people is my favorite thing about writing in the public square.
“Happiness is the truth” is one line from Pharrell’s “Happy,” that stands out for people who are making these connections. The idea is that you can vividly see the truth of happiness when it is being claimed by people living under repressive regimes, or under threat, as in the version from Kiev.
Context matters so much in theology. Being “happy” about getting the latest consumer item, or claiming your right to be “happy” in the face of the threat of domination and oppression, are polar opposites.
This spring semester, I have been teaching a course called “The New Social Gospel,” and I think for both the students and for me, the contextual nature of theology in the United States has never been clearer. Either you are willing to see the real context of the deliberate infliction of economic suffering on the majority of people, or you are willing yourself not to see.
You can’t fight a war when you don’t know even know it’s going on.
Easter is a word about the macro-struggle of human history, the conflicts between life and death, happiness and repression.
And that word is the “yes” of God against the “no” of Empire.
And that’s not even the best news of Easter. What’s really great is we know the end of the story.