~ HERE IN BINKILAND, it’s now technically Spring, a.k.a the day before a shrieking Nor’Easter and a foot of wind-blasted snow hits us upside the head. Not a bad Winter, though.
Springwise, here’s all your astronomical details— the main point, for winter-weary Northern hemispheriacs? The days are finally going to be longer than the nights! For a bit.
For Christians in the West, it’s also Palm Sunday, and the beginning of Holy Week– the walk of suffering love by Jesus, leading to Good Friday, the silent tomb, and the breaking forth of the Kingdom of heaven, by his bodily resurrection from the grave. Easter! Lent draws to a close in a culmination that changes everything forever.
Stole ALL The Things
It is often charged against Christians that they stole all the other people’s stuff. So, Pascha (Easter) is merely a pagan fertility thing. Stole it. ‘Resurrection’ is really all Isis & Osiris, plus about spring, bunnies, eggs, and metaphorical and agricultural new life. So there, you ignorant silly thieving Christians! 😛
Or at least that’s at lest what some silly evangelical Christians, various clevers, and the darling neo-pagans playing superhero in their PJs tell us, being so much smarter, with their 19th century invented pseudo-religion– i.e., from a Christian stance, they notice that there are resonances, foretastes, ideas before Jesus came, who fulfilled them all– not just the fulfillment of Judaism, but of all spiritual longings of the ancients.
Stolen? Well, that’s only if Christianity is a lie. If Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then he’s the fulfillment and completion of what went before. If Christ is not Risen, our faith is in vain– said St. Paul himself.
Having pondered this awhile, I think it’s actually upside-down: Spring is really about Easter. The breaking forth of slumbering nature into bloom and blossom and baby birds is a symbol of the Resurrection of the Lord. The literal rising of Jesus from death is represented by the brighter, warmer, more humane foretaste of the heavenly and eternal springtime. Spring? Well, it’s all about Jesus, and heaven.
That is, ancient pagan peoples could hardly be expected to sit around worshipping and dreaming and hoping for nothing in particular, until Jesus came. He does not come to destroy, but to save, to make ALL things new, to fulfill all the hopes and longings and dreams and visions, as God would have it done.
Pagan sacrifice? One sacrifice on the cross. Contact with holy things? God walking amongst us, incarnate. The seasons of nature representing the seasons of the spirit? The Resurrection of Jesus, the new day, the eighth day of the new creation, breaking in upon our hearts, and upon a nature seeking to be reborn, and made new. Pagan fertility rites? God loves babies– when you’re married. Get to it! Holy places? Special spots set aside for churches, chapels, and locales for pilgrimage. Ancient mighty heroes of the tribe or race? The saints alive, and in glory. All through Jesus.
In Canada and the United States, we’ve had a strong tide of political silly seasons, elections, promises and lies, hubris and nemesis, surprises and shocks. The world goes round and round like a demented carousel, seeking to trap us, and hypnotize us to those fallen and deceptive rhythms that this leader or that will save us; that this pile of free things versus that pile of free things will make us happy; that there’s no other way worth mentioning.
This seems a worse kind of paganism, a hopeless Utopian misery, a rat’s maze with no exit. Now, more than ever, people need something– Someone truly real, and with us and yet lifting us upwards. We need him– or at least his blessings– but as Holy week’s roller-coaster from palms of praise to shout of hate and nails, we don’t entirely want Him. God can be like dentistry in that way.
The human heart would be supreme– can’t we be bosses, Kings and Queens of our own selves, and get all the prizes and goodies, too? Why not get our cake, and eat it, but still have it? How come we can’t be gods, just like the Serpent in The Garden promised?
Because we are not God. We are finite, fallible, foolish, doomed to death, and trapped in shortcomings. We don’t want to be all that we are, and we are what we don’t want to be. There is no good– i.e., no saving eternal life and goodness and love– in us.
God shares all good things with us: he nails himself to us. The Son drinks the cup of sin and death and hell. Love is stronger than death: Christ’s infinite life shared with us in our faith and the sacraments begins the process of making us partakers of God’s nature– into little gods and goddesses on his terms, not ours (or the Serpent’s terms).
Sharp, Like Three Nails
Holy week– the sharp focus on life and death, sin and salvation, sacrifice and selfishness, shows us there’s no such middle ground. He will die to save us, while we were yet sinners– but if Jesus is Lord, then he is Lord of all the things, all the open areas and little corners and hidden closets, too.
The sad fact about the slow deflation of the West form the inside out: simply put, supernature abhors a vacuum. Believers in Jihad and demonic slaughter are inside and crashing through our gates, seeking submission of all things to the blood-demon “Allah”– if we are spiritually dead, or dying, we have no true or lasting inspiration or reason to fight back.
It’s the question of this time, but of all times: will we rebel against our rightful King and Lord, and so be defeated by ourselves and our enemies? Behold your King, on Palm Sunday, humbly riding a donkey; on Good Friday, humbly taking up his cross and dying; on Pascha or Easter Sunday taking up his life again, and in him, all things can and shall be made new.
Behold your King!