A Sermon Preached by the Rev. Susan Allison-Hatch
Did you hear all the sound and fury that erupted this week over a doodle by Google? Or did all that escape you as it did me? It was only yesterday that I heard about Google’s great offense—their placing a picture of Cesar Chavez in the center of the second “o” in their name—a “doodle” they call it—and sending that doodle out on Easter Sunday no less—out for all the twitter sphere to see. Imagine it! The response was swift. Folks throughout the twitter world tweeted away:
“Damn Google....No Easter wishes from these atheists,” tweeted one voice from the Christian right.
Another tweeted, “Google uses Cesar Chavez on Easter instead of something Easter related. Okay. I’m switching to Bing.”
My favorite—“Congrats Google, you’ve managed to alienate Christians in America today: instead of celebrating Christ, all they celebrate is Cesar Chavez.”
Really? All of us? I think not. I suspect most Christians in America had no idea that Google had doodled Cesar Chavez on Easter morn.
If we had known, would we have been offended? Should we have been offended? Have we missed an opportunity to proclaim our faith boldly as our brothers and sisters did so long ago when they stood before the temple council?
I wonder. I wonder if there’s not another way to look at all of this. I wonder if in tweeting that picture of Cesar Chavez on Easter morn, Google didn’t stumble inadvertently into proclaiming the core of the Easter message—the resurrected Body of Christ present in the here and now. I wonder if those of us who missed this big brouhaha over Google’s doodle missed a window into the very heart of the Easter promise—the promise that “He lives. He lives. My savior lives today.”
Do you think Google had any idea about the depth and the breadth of the man whose image graced their doodle on Easter Sunday. Do you suppose they knew about the faith that both sustained and guided Cesar Chavez in his fight for justice for the poorest of the poor?
The man whose image Google doodled on Easter Sunday dedicated his life to seeking justice with and for those who took the jobs no else wanted, with and for those did the work others scorned—farm workers who moved from job to job following the harvest. Folks that worked bent over in the fields tilling the soil with a short-handled hoe and breathing in the fumes of deadly pesticides.
Like Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez pursued a course of non-violence.
Like Jesus he lived and shared the poverty of those he served.
Like the apostles in the aftermath of Easter, Cesar Chavez worked to heal the world in which he lived.
To the apostles standing before the Council the high priest says, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” There gate-keepers were afraid—afraid of Christ’s blood washing over them. Maybe changing them. Maybe healing them. There they were—religious authorities reigning in the Spirit of God at work in the world.
It wasn’t a new thing then. It’s not an old thing now either. Temple authorities. Angry tweets. Variations on a theme. The apostles knew it well. So did Cesar Chavez.
In the late 1960’s, Cesar Chavez, took up what he called a Fast for Life. He was protesting the deadly pesticides that were taking their toll not only on farm workers but also on their children. Each evening, a mass of solidarity was held. At first he walked to mass. Later they carried him into mass. One evening a young girl whose body was pock-marked with tumors prayed, “You, Cesar Chavez, have given us a helping hand and have listened to our crying souls. Someday, I hope to march with you and tell the world how much you love us and care for us like our Lord, Jesus Christ....”1 Sounds like an Easter message to me.
Teresa of Avila once wrote,
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Those are words she could have written to Cesar Chavez. Those are words she could have tweeted to Google. Those are words she speaks to you and me and to the part of the Body of Christ we call Live at Five.
Perhaps we should all tweet, “He lives, he lives. Our Savior lives today. He lives in you. He lives in me. He lives in all who follow on his way.”