Easter Eve

[WARNING AND APOLOGIES:  excessive wordage.  I can’t shut up, and when I’m also quoting other people at any kind of length, um, well]

He is risen, because it’s after sunset Saturday night.  Yaaay.  Also, allelulia.

And I made myself some glorious (if I do say so myself) asparagus and duck stock* soup to come home to.

Next, an aside and, I hope, a clarification.  First:  Blogdad found the WordPress dashboard colours for me.  They were hiding and have I mentioned in the last five minutes how untechie I am?  So I hereby proclaim this to be the new text colour for reader comments.  I know, I know, I should just put quotes around them but . . . they look all funny.  It makes my blog look like not my blog.  Quotes are fine in fiction** and, er, nonfiction . . . but a blog isn’t really either of those things???  It’s something else.  And it’s personal.  And I don’t want quotes in my blog as a regular thing.  So we’re going to have a designated reader-comment colour and I will try to remember, when I start quoting reader comments, to identify the first one in a post, to remind everyone, and clue up any new readers.

So, here begins a reader comment from a few days ago:

Why wouldn’t bad words be allowed? It’s your blog. You set the rules. If you want to swear your head off, that’s up to you. If you don’t want us to swear our heads off, that’s okay, too. It’s your living room. . . .

Oh dear.  I think you’re reacting to (bad words, don’t know if they’re allowed on here) which was a pre-colour reader comment a couple of posts ago.  Evidently insufficiently set off as such.  But I answered:  I’ve decided not to employ random swearing, because there are still a lot of people this distresses, and I don’t want to cause inadvertent/unintended distress.  And so I might as well add here that I would like my commenters to follow this guideline as well—but I reserve all our rights to blow our rude-word tops when circumstances demand.  I don’t have much use for the theory that no decent member of society ever uses bad language.  Maybe ‘decency’ needs redefining.

[The same reader continues:]  Great-Aunt Gladys has been *thinking* those words for decades; she didn’t reach her age without managing her feelings. Precocious ten year olds these days know the words, know the context, and can probably talk intelligently about the etymology. . . .

Knowing the words, thinking the words, using the words and using the words in public are four different things.  Listening/reading someone else using them is a whole further range, from the cranky old lady who lives on that cul de sac with all the potholes*** to the 2017 winner of the Pulitzer Prize.&  And I know some of the precocious ten-year-olds you’re talking about;  they write to me.  Personally I think some of them are finding being that precocious that young a little hard—perhaps most of them do not, but most of them don’t write to me.  And I grew up in the pre-internet age where privacy and boundary-setting were dazzlingly different than they are now—for both good and ill, sometimes very very ill or crusades like #metoo and EverydaySexism and many, many others wouldn’t be necessary now—and I can’t judge.  But I think childhood is hard full stop, and if there’s any kid out there attempting to have a more or less old-fashioned childhood, who reads BEAUTY or SPINDLE’S END or most of the other McKinleys, and wants to know something about the author—and isn’t so old fashioned that they can’t get on line—I don’t want them feeling beat up by this blog.

And on a topic closely connected in my mind, when people ask me, I don’t recommend kids before their midteens reading DEERSKIN or SUNSHINE, especially DEERSKIN. . . . But I wouldn’t forbid it either.  Because I believe they’re both worthwhile books and I can’t know other people’s lives.

Good Friday? Corruption of God’s Friday. Like holy day became holiday.

Well—it depends on whom you read.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/04/18/why_is_good_friday_called_good_friday_the_etymology_and_origins_of_the_holiday.html [WARNING:  this article is headed with what I, as a twitchy, depressive Christian, feels is an unnecessary photo of an actor playing Jesus, covered in graphic blood and displaying look-at-me-I’m-ACTING! agony, which may be unfair of me, but I don’t find these re-enactments enhance my Easter experience]

And similar, more briefly, here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27067136

I was raised in the ‘Good Friday’ tradition, where it’s ‘good’ because Jesus’ death saved us all from sin.  But the tradition I was raised in also drove me away from Christianity for half a century.  I rather like ‘Sorrowful Friday’.  And the end of the universe monks go for ‘Holy and Great Friday’ so I should probably call it that.  But Black Friday is short and to the point.

(We need an ability to “like”, “+1”, “applaud”, or whatever on comments. Naturally all of the blog readers are eloquent and full of fascinating witticisms.)

I TOTALLY agree.  I will take it up with Blogdad.&&

WOZZECK?!?!?!?!

Well, I said—I wanted something light and cheerful.  The Mikado.  The Merry Widow.  Wozzeck.  I was perhaps not in the liveliest frame of mind last night. . . . Note for people who are not opera junkies:  Wozzeck is one of the most, and in some people’s minds, the most depressing opera ever written.  It’s not that it’s about murder and death—opera is WEDGED FULL TO BURSTING with stories of murder and death—but that it’s a grind-you-down, ordinary-person-driven-past-bearing-by-pressures-beyond-his-control story of murder and death.  Yes, Wozzeck’s mistress is having it on with the drum-major and he kills her for it, and then drowns sort of accidentally.  But Wozzeck, just a bloke who happens to be a soldier, has already lost agency as a human being by the way the military treats him—set up vividly in the very first scene—plus he is being used as a guinea pig by a psychopathic doctor because he needs the tiny extra bit of cash the doctor gives him—he’s got a kid with the unfaithful mistress to support.  The mistress, just by the way, to crank the general wretchedness a turn or two extra, reads the Bible and feels horribly guilty about the drum-major.  I don’t think we know that much of her back story, but women almost by definition rarely have any real agency in opera (Lucia di Lammermoor, GAAAAAH, or that chump Desdemona, or Violetta in La Trav, another woman driven out of society and then dying as the price for taking the only option available to her, becoming a whore, I mean high-price courtesan), and if I want to think that Berg had that in mind when Marie receives earrings from the drum-major as Wozzeck receives cash from the doctor, that’s my privilege.  There is no glorious catharsis—nor any hummable tunes—in Wozzeck.  Just a series of short, scary scenes with sharp, scary music.  Brrrrrr.  Oh, and just in case you missed the moral, if you want to call the final kick in the ear a moral, the kid left an orphan is officially damned to have a lousy life.

And while I get what you mean about the Exodus reading for Holy Thursday, I do find it so resonant hearing at church the same things that would have been read during the seder that was the Last Supper/the institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist. . .  

(I’m doubtless biased, having grown up in a household with two religious traditions, but I think it’s so much more meaningful when put in context. . .)

To come home today for the first night of Passover and read the same thing over again in the haggadah, to participate in the same ritual… it reinforces (for me) all that is memory and immediacy and connecting past to present action. ..

WELL MAYBE.  Because I am totally obsessed with language the whole TRANSLATION thing is kind of my personal burning pit, and I have about a dozen different Bibles to serve as bellows if I ever burn a little less fiercely for a minute or two.&&&  So just how whichever version we’re reading is like the original seder?  And then there’s the question about whether the Last Supper happened on Passover at all, or some other day entirely.  Or something.

From http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/The-last-supper-a-Passover-seder-348420 :

‘The truth may be that though the last supper took place shortly before Passover, it was not a seder at all but a talk-feast, a meeting of the fellowship – the havurah – which Jesus constituted with his disciples.’

And I say . . . whimper.

(I can . . . relate to being the default last-minute lector. . . .on days when I’ve had little/no warning . . . I apparently revert to librarian mode and  . . . slip into Storytime Voice. I didn’t realize . . . until someone made a remark . . . about how wonderfully *dramatic* I’d made the reading. Oops.)

When I read at St Margaret’s I tend to be a little dramatic.  Oops.  But it’s also the space . . . and the fact that that’s where we sing Jesus Is My Boyfriend music.%  Arrrrgh.  I’m not deliberately laying it on, it’s the way it comes.  I got to do one of Jesus’ rants once, and afterward I thought, hmm, I may have gone a little far.  But one of the more dramatic members of the admin came up to me and said, that was a really good reading.  Oh?  Okay.  Oh good.  Thanks.

The brokenness of the world is entirely shitty, and I think if more Christians talked about it like that, we might actually be able to have conversations about religion and whatnot without killing each other. And this might help, or might make it worse, what human actually knows how to talk about grief, but here it is. Taken from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which was indirectly quoting Tolkien, in regards to Easter: “Everything sad is coming untrue.”

Lewis, I think?  Sounds like Narnia to me.  And—I wish.  But yes about the talking thing.  It’s why I get so frustrated when the people around you go all stuffed when you say GAY MARRIAGE!  YES!  WOMEN IN THE MINISTRY!  YES!  WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN, IT JUST TAKES THE AXE MURDERERS LONGER!  YES!  THE REASON SATAN IS SUCH A CRABBY COW IS BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE’S GOING TO BE OUT OF A JOB IN A FEW MILLENNIA!  YES!%% 

. … I wonder if Jesus ever swears. Because what we do to each other would be enough to drive him to it really.  I’m now making myself laugh imagining waking up on Judgement Day and his first words to me being ‘What the….?’ Luckily God has a sense of humour, or I’d be done for. . . .

GOD CERTAINLY HAS A SENSE OF HUMOUR.  HE/SHE/IT/THEY CREATED THE UNIVERSE, DIDN’T HE/SHE/IT/THEY?  INCLUDING US?  Not original, but worth reiterating, perhaps especially on Easter Sunday, which it has become as I write this.

* * *

* Although I frelling spilled a great frothing puddle of the stock on the floor ARRRRRRRGH.^  Fortunately I have a four-legged self-motivating dustbin on the premises who took care of the problem with great skill and thoroughness.

^ I make chicken stock every week.  Why couldn’t I spill that if I’m going to spill stock?  Duck stock is a TREAT.

** And, outing myself here, I loathe novels that don’t use quote marks, and mostly refuse to read them because they make my tiny restless brain work too hard.

*** Which may be CONTRIBUTING to her crankiness.  Just sayin’.

& ‘Nigger’ counts.

&& Who is, I hope, having a nice restful Easter, I hope only once interrupted^ by some IQ-of-meatloaf who had somehow managed to get locked out of her own blog.  Frelling WordPress said TIMED OUT!!!, shut down, and disappeared the bar that has the frelling admin stuff on it, including the log in.  ARRRRRRGH.

^ . . . so far

&&& Or you can just go to biblehub.com but I don’t find rending one’s garments and gnashing one’s teeth in front of a computer screen nearly as satisfying as rending and gnashing surrounded by large open books, with, you know, three-dimensionally flippable pages.

% Some of which I ADMIT is fun to sing.  I ADMIT IT.  But I also admit to rewriting the lyrics when I like the tune, and then it’s hard to remember what I’m supposed to be singing in church, which is more embarrassing when you’re in the band . . .

%% And if Satan has the all-time-is-the-same app that God uses, he^ has a Schrodinger’s cat thing going where he’s already out of a job, and that might make him more crabby.

^ I suppose Satan needs to be he/she/it/they too.  Equal time.  Ugh.  I’m quite happy to leave him male.

13 thoughts on “Easter Eve”

  1. Happy Easter!

    It’s good to wake up (or stay awake into) Easter Sunday and feel that bubble of peaceful hope in your chest. Good Friday (Black Friday makes me think of shopping, I’m afraid. I do like Sorrowful Friday) is always so heavy as one meditates on the true consequences of sin and our culpability in Jesus’ death… But Easter brings the joyful promise that literally anyone can be freed from the dark burden that binds them.

    I’ve been processing a lot lately, and trying to figure out what radical love looks like. That ties into Easter, and also into how other Christians do God-like love. Have you seen the trailer for the Mr. Rogers documentary? I wonder if they’ll get it that it was his love born from God’s love that made the difference.

    Good luck with blog wrangling and finding all the bits and bobs to make it feel like home!

  2. The talking thing: YES!!! Plus the footnote about Satan already being out of a job and extra cranky because of that. Perfect thoughts for Easter, thank you.

  3. Happy Easter! (Que the chorus of “He is Risen”, “He is Risen Indeed.”) I have been thinking about commenting for a while, so here I am. I just want to say how grateful I am to you and your fantastic creative mind for helping me through some sketchy times. Also, it would be great if more people just talked about the broken, horrid things in life. I find it easiest to relate to my fellow tortured souls.

    1. Thank you. Although I’m sorry about the tortured soul thing, I agree that bad stuff needs to be talked about too.

  4. When I was growing up I thought it was Black Friday, because, um, Jesus DIED. Come on, people! This is a much better use for that term than for a big shopping day. But no luck.

    And Easter hit me strongly this year. Partly bcs I was having an emotional day anyway, but I just about lost it crying with joy a time or two during the service. So happy!

    I will also add that I’ve had reason to be thankful for the minimum swearing here. I remember when my nephew was 8 or so, coming to check out your blog with him. We mostly looked at pictures (dogs, car, etc.), but he reads fast and he read some of it even when I was scrolling down for more pictures. I don’t know if he’d heard those words by then, but I didn’t want to be the person who introduced him to them. And…. Sometimes swearing is exactly the right language to use, but if it’s used all the time then it loses its power and I at least find it grating.

  5. I’m late to the party, but I’m very glad to see you back online, if only so we know you are okay (for certain values of okay, such as “upright and breathing”). The rants are just gravy. 😉

  6. I think this is the Tolkien quote:

    “With that Gandalf stood before him, robed in white, his beard now gleaming like pure snow in the twinkling of the leafy sunlight. ‘Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?’ he said.

    “But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: ‘Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?’

    “‘A great Shadow has departed,’ said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then, as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.

    “‘How do I feel?’ he cried. ‘Well, I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel’ — he waved his arms in the air — ‘I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!”

    Lovely to have your posts popping up in my phone again. I couldn’t resist putting in the long version of the quote because I think we* could all use a little spring after winter right now.

    *and our gardens+.
    +and bees.

    1. Ah. My apologies. Not, I have to say, my favourite part of LOTR, but ‘everything sad coming untrue’ is a lovely thought.

  7. Finally snatching a moment to say how glad I am that you’ve returned to blogging. My life is a non-stop whirlwind right now, and the moments when I get to stop, read, laugh, and hunt for footnotes give me energy to keep going. Welcome back!

  8. It might be considered blasphemous, considering the theology, and I’m neither truly religious nor Catholic so I’m not sure it matters (the blasphemy) for me personally but I like to think even Satan gets to go Home, at the end of the day.

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