I went to church today, Easter Sunday, and expected to hear a pretty standard sermon on the resurrection of Jesus. I was pretty surprised by the angle the priest took, however.
I have never heard the words “kill” and “murder” used so many times in one speech. I was cringing at first, thinking this was way too intense for an Easter Sunday. I was looking uncomfortably at parents who had young children with them, wondering if they were going to walk out. It turned out to be a pretty interesting sermon though. The priest quoted from Nietzsche’s Mad Man parable and a few other philosophers, recounting the exact moment when God had been killed for each of these men (like receiving their first Holy Communion, and looking at the sour and unhappy faces of the people around him in Church–people who were there because they HAD to be, not because they wanted to be there). He went on to talk about how people kill God everyday, and not necessarily when you do something outlandish or crazy. He recounted how there was a gay man who told the priest how the Catholic church had been his greatest source of refuge years ago, but through the institution of the church and the people within the church, their constant criticism basically, God had been killed for him, and he couldn’t go back. He talked about the actions of priests within the Catholic church who have killed God for so many people: they no longer have faith in the church, or in God. He talked about the rules of the church, and how some of these have killed God for people.
I understood what he was saying, and I was honestly surprised to hear a Catholic priest addressing these issues before his congregation. I’ve been a Catholic my whole life, and intend on being one for the rest of my life. But I understand people that have issues with it. I understand how there are things/issues/beliefs/actions of the church, of the institution itself, that turns people away from church, instead of towards it.
It was a slightly depressing sermon, although he did bring it around, emphasizing that we each have the power to bring God back to life to those people around us, possibly by our most minor of actions.
“You can kill God, but you can’t kill Him forever.”
What killed God for you? Who killed God for you? What can bring Him back to life for you?