How Jesus Resurrects Anew in Different Cultures

13Apr13

“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.” (Mark 16:6)

As we enter Easter and celebrate the Resurrection, let’s take a moment to consider once more Christianity’s interplay with culture. Dr. Pagan and others have noted that when missionaries introduce Christianity to new places, what takes shape is not just what they teach, but a new creation that responds to the traditions and needs of the receiving culture. Jesus resurrects, yet again, in a new place.

horses_on_trail

Some travelers on horseback ascend to the Torres of Paine.

Christianity, at its heart, brings a message of love and liberation to each new time and each new place. Because the particular situation is different in each case, we cannot modify or recycle the old Christ, but rather, we need for him to resurrect again.

folliage_and_mountain

The Lenga beginning to turn color. The species we observed in the Patagonian forest were very different from what we’d experienced up north.

The word “projimo” in Argentinean and Paraguayan Christianity demonstrates this. Projimo is the word used for “neighbor” in the command: “love thy neighbor as thyself.” But it is far stronger than the English “neighbor”. Neighbor, for us North Americans, means people with whom we are friendly but not intimate. Projimo, on the other hand, evokes unity and interconnection. Your projimo is the one who is right next to you. Your projimo’s humanity is reflected in you and vice versa. Your existence loses its meaning without your projimo. He or she is the one whom we must love. Therefore, as Chris resurrects anew in the Southern Cone, he becomes our projimo and so offers us an alternative wavelength for understanding who our neighbor is.

Little_Duckling_en_Rosedal

An inhabitant of the Rosedal, Buenos Aires’ Rose Garden.

Sometimes, when Christianity has been established in a place for a long time, we must re-examine our message of love and liberation. In such moments, we need to find out how Christ is resurrecting in new places. Through this knowledge that comes from sharing, we can carry on all the brighter in our task of seeking God’s reign.

leaping_waterfall

A waterfall on the edge of Perito Moreno Glacier.

Easter blessings!!

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