Jesus Christ as Anti-Colonial Necromancer in
Roman-Occupied Palestine &  Jesus Christ as Colonial Necromancer in Peru and the Philippines

by: CA Russegger

Photo by Dima Pechurin on Unsplash

In Spanish colonial sources, Indigenous religions are called “witchcraft” and “necromancy”—raising the dead. But Jesus did the same thing, revered as miraculous. So aren’t these terms colonialist labels to ‘other’ Indigenous religions? Given Jesus’ position as a martyred opponent of Roman occupation and Christianity’s legacy in former Spanish colonies, it is contradictory to subjugate ancient faiths as witchcraft in Christ’s name—what would Jesus do? He would resist the violence of colonialism, and it is important to reckon with that when understanding the Bible and Christianity in the postcolonial context.
-CA Russegger

Jesus Christ as Anti-Colonial Necromancer in Roman-Occupied Palestine

This sickness will not end in death. // Christ conjures
the grotesque by torrid sunlight, // crimson spilling
off prayer’s parchment // as He orders: // Remove
this stone from Lazarus’ grave. // He calls himself
the resurrection // and calls his incantation a prayer. //
Come forth, He says. Come forth. // He commands
the abyss, Lazarus’ grave speckled with bones //
and flesh curling away from plagued body. // Those
who command the abyss // force the abyss to command
them // as Romans bark orders at desolate crowds
and the crowds return with Christ, // demanding the end
of occupation. // Lazarus was a motley cluster of muscle //

        cobbling itself together // as a new man wrapped
        in the white of death. // Let him go, Christ speaks,
        concocting a liberatory libation // for the reborn spirit
        inhabiting human flesh. // With the willpower
        of the Christ-crowd’s rabble, Lazarus springs forth //
        and weeps. Hosanna. They call Christ holy // hollering
        for His miracles // for His healing // and His sacred
        heart. // Come forth, He says. Come forth from Roman
        reign. // He resists the withering of the testament //

forbidding the resurrection: The Lord thy God doth
drive [necromancers] out before thee. // What is resurrection
if not deified necromancy? // Resurrectionborn from
resurgō. // Rise again. // As if death was never truly
dead. // Death is merely life oppressed. // Necromancy
from bewitched νεκρομαντεία.// Divination of the dead. //
For Christ destroys death, // renewing God’s kingdom
against Roman will. // Creating God’s kingdom
by and for the people. He does not undo. // He undoes. //
He does not. // Dying and rising is reborn as the masses’ cycle,
no longer the gatekept property // of far-off Gods and Roman
despots. // Christ uncrucifies the world. // He summons

        Lazarus. // All are Lazarus in Christ. // Reborn from imperial
        sin into the people’s grace. // Is Christ, then, a necromancer? //
        Have words forsaken their meanings? // Lazarus’ spirit remains
        with Christ // embracing Him as Saviour. // Necromancy
        is an unholy act of night. // Resurrection is a holy act of day
        and new beginning // and resistance // and liberation. //
        Christ and Lazarus envelop each other // hand-in-hand
        on Passover. // Miracle is deified magic. // Christ is maimed
        by His oppressors on the cross. // He spends Saturday
        languishing // in the Hell of burning silence, a damnation

worse than occupation. // And still, He rises again
for His crowd. // He returns to bring resistance to life. //
He divines His own death. // Come forth, He orders
Himself. // Come forth in the shadow of Lazarus’ rebirth,
come forth in the rebirth of every downtrodden Judean. //
In torrid sunlight, He proclaims the light // of salvation.
That all will rise again // in a necromancy for the people—
a necromancy for God. // He calls this necromancy //
resurrection. Rise again with no divine death. // All death
is divine and all will rise again. // Come forth, commands
God’s necromancer. // Come forth and rise again. // Amen.

Jesus Christ as Colonial Necromancer in Peru and the Philippines

When Christ is a necromancer, we call it resurrection—
a gift of the spirit // manna of rebirth. A sin condemned
is a spirit reinvigorated. // Christ is honoured
as a revolutionary.      Crucified by the people, deified
by the people. // Deifying the people, raising them
to His right hand: for all are one in Christ.

They say there is no oppressor // no oppressed
in Christ’s kingdom. // Dying, He destroys death.
Rising, He restores life— // They claim this to be
indiscriminate // not merely by colour,
but by holy covenant. // They bring us to Christ,
Their necromancer. // In Him, we die. //
We die // and rise again. He dies // and rises again.

To rise and rise and rise—
now and forever. Amen.   Other necromancers
do not receive the honour of resurrection in word
or in faith or in flesh. They call them necromancers.
They say it is what it is. It is black magic because black
is not white. // Christ is not white until They claim

His whiteness in elegant ivory statues, wrapping Him
in the robes of a prince // of Spanish soldiers, breastplate
and sword as gentle-raging threats against so-called
necromancers, heathens

of the Andes and the Philippine islands. // We never
raised the dead. We loved our neighbours and They said
love your neighbour, love our necromancer. Love
(y)our Lord and Saviour—Christ or Columbus?

They refuse to clarify // as they obscure our histories
in the shadow of Christ’s sacred magic—Christ is the light
and we are the darkness. We are painted in God’s image,
swirled in hyperbolic sorcery:

Spanish codices scrawled in brilliant ink, packed
with tales of mangled men // speaking in strange tongues,
screeching throatless for our ancestors—false gods
crafted from the canon of Christless death. Savages,

They called us. Galleons cut through waves and carry
savage goods. // The codices speak of Incas who communed
with the dead: sorcerers and heretics, ablaze // in Inquisition.

Our deathly beautiful holiness—anito, wak’a—are reduced
to cursed idols, crumbling in Christ’s wake. // Faiths morph
into unquestionable necromancy: Come forth, commands

the friar // on pain of death. Wood-carved statues in Cebu
are replaced by gallant Christs of gold trim, shattering
in a choir’s unison. // Khipus, strings recording life,
are burnt in Lima under Their watchful eyes. //
Ancient faiths die at the hands

of the enforced Christ. // When we commune with the past,
we are heretics speaking with the long-gone dead.
Thus we are devoted to the acceptable necromancer: in Him,

we rise again to glorify a necromancy for the people—
whose people?

----About the writer
CA Russegger is a student from the Philippines with some work in Blue Marble Review & Parallax Online. Always down to talk about the Bible.


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