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Reverend Billy’s Exodus/Easter Sermon

Join Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir at NYC's Union Square today for The Great WikiLeaks Easter Egg Hunt!

The year is turning into High Spring. All of the world’s cultures tell a creation story to go with this steamy moment of green shoots and flowers and sex-drunk birds singing all night long. The most famous stories are the Chosen-People-into-the-wilderness and Christ-on–the-Cross stories, a journey into the unknown to the Promised Land and another ascension to “Father’s Mansion” in the sky.

This year the Promised Land is catching us from behind. We’re interrupted by a thousand gangsta tornadoes and a monster-from-the-depths tsunami, by nuclear fall-out and WikiLeaks and Arab teenagers unafraid of dictators the Americans left in place on their trip from pillar of fire to pillar of fire. Now a refreshing Spring-like confusion has overtaken us, about the role of our collective will, our modern competence…

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We set out across the wilderness of America and the Garden of Eden was straight ahead. We were the Chosen People. We made a deal with an all-powerful God who would protect us from an America full of animals, and moaning, singing people who called out to each other with animal names. God agreed to tame the wilderness and kill our enemies.

We were the Chosen. We punched our ticket. We prayed. We buried our cigar box of dead presidents under the barn. The lonely war-god with his lovely dead son – they were supposed to defeat Appalachia, and the Ohio Valley after that, and the Mississippi and the Great Plains and Rockies and the Golden State and the Moon, but the Promised Land receded into the distance like a white whale the size of pixel. The pillar of fire that was supposed to get us home – the GPS was on the fritz. And then our Eden caught us from behind. It turned out to our surprise that the Promised Land was never in front of us.

The Promised Land caught us from behind because it was an inside job, the seeds and eggs and screaming birds. There is an Eden inside us, and we know there is. And to acknowledge this, as an ambitious American, is to start over completely, to defy Presidents and institutions and the religions that made the holy days like the Exodus and Easter a triumph over the wilderness. That roaring wild life, there’s no God violent enough to stop it. There’s no technology clever enough to stop it. The Promised Land catches us from behind, comes up our legs and into our heart and head. Even the Americans got the Holy Jiggly now -because its Spring.