Tag Archives: Easter

Maundy

A new command was given on Maundy Thursday – a mandate – mandatum – hence the name. And in honor of “loving one another,” priests wash parishioners’ feet, kings and queens give coins, and altars are stripped to remind us of that giving of it all.

I’ll add my homage to Maundy Thursday in two short drabbles below – a 100-word story and a 100-word essay. And I’ll wish you all the blessings of this season.

bread and wine

Imagine the scene; twelve men on an after-dinner walk to a place of quiet reflection, bodies stuffed, minds tired, and souls restless with that nervous sense that something is bound to go wrong.

The streets were quiet. Night had fallen, everyone sleeping or praying, except for them.

“Strange about the bread,” said James, still tasting forbidden matzos eaten after lamb.

“And the blessing”—“This is my body,” the master had said, reminding them of something they were too full, or too tired to remember.

They stopped at a garden, sat on rocks, lay on grass, their bodies weary with food. And they barely noticed when Jesus left to pray with Peter, James and John.

Matthew looked up. “Huh? Where’d they go?” then, “Wonder what happened to Judas.”

Voices whispered. Armor jangled. Footsteps approached.

Mark 14:22 “…Take, eat: this is my body.”

 After they’d eaten the Passover meal, Jesus blessed and broke another matzo. He prayed over the third cup of wine—cup of redemption, blood of the lamb—and the feast drew to its end.

Maundy Thursday evening begins a three-day celebration of Easter: Maundy pennies to the poor; priests washing the people’s feet. But it’s communion that matters most—bread and wine shared in remembrance of Him. We file out from church, leaving the light shining in a tiny garden—shrubs and flowers, a place of Easter prayer.

And through the night, people visit, to watch and pray one hour.

Imagine this scene too, re-enacted in churches all over the world, including my brother’s church, where people, including my mother, watch and pray, souls restless with that whispering sense that even this is God’s plan, and resurrection will follow.

resurrection

Sheila Deeth is the author of the Mathemafiction novels, published by Indigo Sea Press. Find Divide by Zero and Infinite Sum on Amazon and where all good books are sold. And watch out for Subtraction, coming soon.

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Blessings and Peace on Easter Sunday

May today bring you rebirth, renewal and tranquility.

Happy Easter from Second Wind Publishing.

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com

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You Don’t Know Easter by Noah Baird

Hi, everybody. It’s the time of year when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or as it’s known in my house – the spontaneous zombification of a religious figure day. The kids don’t care either way – candy is candy. For this month’s blog, I thought I’d drop some Easter knowledge on you.

Why doesn’t fall on the same day every year? Easter is known as a “movable feast”. It falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (or “Spring” to the rest of us). Lent is determined by counting forty days  back from that date (Not including Sundays. Lent is really forty-four days; you have to read the fine print.). Which is also why Mardi Gras is also not a fixed date.

That’s right – JC had a fixed birthday, but the day of his death is determined by celestial mechanics. It’s a good thing Christmas isn’t also a movable feast. As a child, I felt Christmas took far too long to get here.  I don’t think I would’ve handled a shifting date.

The full moon probably worked out in JC’s favor. It would have made a nocturnal exit through the desert easier. Son of God or not – I’m pretty sure he wasn’t eager to run into any more Roman Centurions.

So, why the egg? I tell my kids the rock used to cover JC’s tomb happened to be shaped like an egg. Presto! Tradition! The reality is more mundane. Christians didn’t eat meat or dairy during Lent. Back in JC’s day, eggs were considered . . . dairy. Dairy was any animal-derived foodstuffs rendered from an animal without shedding its blood. This is way before we had a FDA or a congress to tell us what food is. Considering congress classified pizza sauce as a vegetable, things haven’t improved much.

So, for forty-four days, nobody is eating any eggs. Because the chickens refused to also observe Lent (all poultry are atheists), they kept laying eggs. What do you do with a nearly a month and half worth of eggs? If the Jews had met any Chinese caravans traveling along the spice routes, we’d probably bury our eggs for a month or two to preserve them. Don’t ask me why the Chinese bury eggs; they’ve got some strange ideas about food over there. Apparently, the eggs are still edible, which is the exact same rationale my vet gave me when I asked him why the dog eats poop. We avoided that bullet, and just hard boil the eggs to make them last longer.

Eggs were also considered a fertility symbol by the early pagans, who liked to wind up their sexy-time festival in the spring when all of the other animals were also busy mating. Then the Christians show up with a brand-new holiday they want to create celebrating their newly-minted undead deity. The Christians lift a few ideas off of the sexy-time pagans, who were pretty groovy and not too worried about what the Christians were doing. Two thousand years later, the Easter Egg is here to stay.

What’s with the bunny? See the paragraph above with our friends, the sexy-time pagans? Insert “bunny” everywhere you see “egg”. Exact same story. Think of it like when a kid is born near Christmas. The kid’s birthday ends up being rolled into one hybrid Christmas/birthday. If the kid were to live two thousand years, then eventually the two celebrations would morph into one holiday.

Historical records that I made up state it went like this:

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Hey, Christians. Why the long faces?”

Christian 1: “Oh- hi, heathens. The son of our god died.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Bummer. Listen, we’re having our annual Love Fest. Why don’t you guys come in and . . . ”

Christian 1: “Well, he came back to life.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Really?!?! Your god is a zombie?”

Christian 1: “JC wasn’t our god. He was the son of . . . ”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Yeah, yeah. You guys have to stop badgering us for being polytheistic while claiming to be monotheistic . . . ”

Christian 1: “We are monotheistic. We only worship the one true . . . ”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Which is personified by a holy trinity of . . . ”

Christian 1: “You heathens will never understand.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Anyway. So, your semi-deity is a zombie? Why don’t you bring him around. I know some of our ladies might be interested in . . . ”

Christian 1: “He isn’t a zombie. He’s risen from the grave with the love . . . ”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “So, he’s undead?”

Christian 1: “Well, that’s an over-simplification of . . . ”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Look, bring him around. We’re having our annual Love Fest (wink, wink). I know a girl at the fest who will make you forget about all of that.”

Christian 1: “We can’t. The son of our god died for our sins. We’re supposed to think about the sacrifice he made for us. I imagine that includes not adding more sins to our list.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Listen. Just get your guys to stop thinking of intercourse as a sin, and you’ll be set.”

Christian 1: I wish. It’s harder than you might think. It’s written on a rock.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Ungh – that’s a bummer.”

Christian 1: “So, anyway, we were thinking of starting a new holiday to commemorate the death and resurrection of the son of our god. We’re all tapped out of ideas, and we were wondering if you guys could help.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1:  “Sure. Go on into the fest. We’ve got massage oils, lubes, toys – help yourselves.”

Christian 1: “Umm, we were thinking of something more . . . Wait, are those Roman Centurions partying at your fest?”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Them? Oh yeah, the Roman gods suck, so they hang out with us. They’re cool.”

Christian 1: “Anyway. We were wondering if we could use the eggs and the rabbits.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Well, we keep those around to entertain the kids so the adults can participate in the Love Fest.”

Christian 1: “Okay. So you don’t mind if we use them?”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Seriously, Christians, go into the festival. There are these swings that attach to the ceiling. Your partner gets in it and . . . ”

Christian 1: “No, no – the rabbit and egg will do.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Okay. So what are you going to do with them.”

Christian 1: “We are going to paint the eggs red to remind kids of the sacrifice JC made for all of us, and then we’ll make the rabbit the size of a human. The rabbit will then sneak into the kid’s house at night and hide eggs.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1: “Yeaaaaaah – that sounds much better than Love Fest. Okay, see you later, Christians.”

Sexy-Time Pagan 1 to Sexy-Time Pagan 2: “Their religion will never last.”

And that’s how we got stuck with a rabbit and an egg instead of religiously-sanctioned love fest.

So, why did the pagans celebrate the bunny? Because they are horny little fuzz balls. Not only are they constantly mating, rabbits can get pregnant while pregnant. The phenomenon is called superfetation. The rabbit can have two separate embryos at different development cycles in their uterus at the same time.

Thankfully, superfetation doesn’t occur in humans.

Why do rabbits go ass to mouth? Remember the old Cadbury Egg commercials when a rabbit would squawk and lay a chocolate egg? That commercial always freaked me out. Probably because rabbit poop looks a lot like chocolate cereal. Turns out, rabbits eat it – not their poop; their cocetrope. Rabbits have a hindgut digestive system. When a rabbit eats, most of the nutritional material is separated from the vegetable matter after it’s passed through the stomach and large intestines. The nutrient-rich material, called the cocetrope, is passed as mucous pellet. The rabbit then eat it again to get the full nutritional value. The hard pellets really are poop, and you shouldn’t play with them.

Now, I’m from the school of thought where anything that comes out the rectum shouldn’t go back in your mouth (the dog and I disagree on this point).  However, rabbits need the nutrients from the cocetrope, and will die if they don’t get their preprocessed meal.

I think if anyone has an argument against intelligent design, it is Mr. Rabbit.

A few more things you may not know:

  • Chocolate is popular during Easter because it represents the wood of the cross (Not really. I just tell my kids that).
  • Chocolate Easter Bunnies are hollow so you don’t break your teeth. As disappointed as I always was with getting a hollow rabbit, at least someone was looking out for us. Now I’m a cynic and realize you won’t have any lifetime chocolate fans if we all break our teeth when we were five.
  • The word “Easter” comes from the name of a fertility god, known as “Ostara” or “Eostre” (Thank you, sexy-time pagans!).
  • Easter Island was discovered by westerners on Easter. The Polynesians had already discovered the island and named it, but we didn’t ask them.
  • Cadbury Creme Eggs are 5 oz smaller now.
  • Kids love the idea of hard-boiled eggs, but you can’t get them to eat them.
  • If there is snow on the ground at Easter, then you don’t need to dye the eggs. Just toss them out in the snow for the kids to find.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Noah Baird is the author of Donations to Clarity.

http://www.amazon.com/Donations-Clarity-Noah-Baird/dp/1935171445/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311518859&sr=8-1/

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Rabbits and Eggs

 

I’ve always wanted to come to the bottom of the odd imagery which goes hand in hand with Easter. When I was little, back in the early fifties, I received an Easter basket, usually complete with a fluffy toy bunny. We had festive posters on the school room walls of cheerful looking rabbits with candy baskets. Bunnies=Easter—that was simply how it was. Nothing to do with the awe-full Christian story of agony and resurrection, of course, but running in unexplained tandem.

As I grew older, I became fascinated with mythology and with history. Following both tracks back to the long ago where they merge, I came upon a Saxon goddess named Eostre. Her arrival brought spring to the English. Like others of her regenerative earth goddess kind, flowers sprang up where she walked.  Eggs are laid in spring and so perhaps, I thought, the basket is actually a nest containing eggs. The eggs and new born rabbits and all the other creatures who begin their life cycles at this time have simply become conflated into “mash-up”  image.

This satisfied me for a very long time, until this year, when with fresh input from British scholars, (Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm) I think I’ve finally come to the bottom of the rabbit and eggs conundrum.  Long ago, in England, before the Romans introduced rabbits, there were related creatures called “hares,” decidedly not the same animal as “silly rabbits.” British hares are larger, relatives of the white Arctic Hare. They thrived in the extensive, grazing-created grasslands.  Hares do not sleep in burrows, but in “forms,” which their neatly tucked up bodies make in the long grass. 

A British bird, the lapwing, shares this habitat. She lays her eggs in grassy nests on the ground, like the American whippoorwill. She even does a similar “my wing is broken” routine to lead predators away from her eggs/chicks. Sometimes the lapwing makes use of a hare’s abandoned “form” for her eggs—and presto!

Ancient people saw the forms left by the hares, sometimes containing the pretty speckled eggs of the lapwing, and a magical image was born. To put a cap on it, at least from a long-ago Britain’s point of view, both these animals belonged to the Goddess Eostre, the sweet lady who brings us fertility and flowers, so welcome after winter’s dead time.

–Juliet Waldron

 http://www.amazon.com/Druid-Animal-Oracle-Philip-Carr-Gomm/dp/0671503006/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332938208&sr=1-1

http://www.julietwaldron.com

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On Any Given Sunday

In today’s busy world, many of us flit from one activity to another without taking the time to reflect on the small events that shape our lives.

Last Thursday after working all day, I drove home in rush hour traffic, picked up my second oldest son and took him shopping with me to buy all of the pieces to make Easter special for my family of six. I raced through two stores, buying eggs, Easter basket goodies, groceries, coloring kits, and the other miscellaneous items on my list. I arrive home and unload groceries while my husband begins dinner. My evening slows down just as it’s time to get the little kids in bed. I repeated this entire scene again on Friday, this time returning to the store with my daughter to purchase the items I forgot to purchase on Thursday as well as birthday presents for parties on Saturday.

During all of this, I received a message from a dear friend who told me to “Enjoy the joys of my little ones.”

That thought gave me pause.

My seven year old daughter has been excited all week. Saturday, she went to her very first birthday party that her brothers were not invited to. In her eyes, this was her first show of independence, that she got invited to a birthday party with other little girls, and her brothers couldn’t go. She’s watched with envy for years as her popular older brothers went to parties and had friends come to the house. She and I went shopping alone on Friday. She picked the birthday present. She picked the wrapping paper, the card, and the bows. Early Saturday morning, she was dressed and ready for the party before her brothers were even awake. She behaved well all morning in spite of her bubbling excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed my daughter’s joy.

So this Easter Sunday, or on any given Sunday, or any moment that you can, enjoy the joy of those you love.

 

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny.

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