Ideally, of course, she would not just stop at alt-right Red Pillism, and seek the fullness of reality in Catholic Christianity. One thing at a time.
It has been said before (by me and others) that Cultural Marxism is a false religion, and a brain-disease. Pleasantly presenting facts, real people, contrary evidence is not the key to saving people from such delusions– it requires a total conversion of mind, heart, and will, a painful death of delusion, and awakening to the Real.
Equally, people willing to kill & die for Allah don’t want to hear about milk-water diversity and lukewarm “Don’t Care Too Much” inclusion, which is the food of ghosts and dessicated half-souls, and people who don’t believe in the Real anymore. Jihadis are people craving serious crusade (remember those?), committed to their deity, and offering everything– you know like pre-asteroid Catholicism represented.
The new stuff? “Hurray us, God!” Yawn. Or “Be nice? Pleeeeease?”, between booms.
Many Muslim converts to Christianity report not being converted by sock-puppets, wince-worthy worship, or endless rounds of ‘Kumbayah‘– but by overwhelming meetings & visions with the real & risen Lord Jesus himself.
Supernature hates a vacuum– if we are empty, Something will replace God in us and for us. The answer to Feminism, the Alt-Right, and Islam is that we and they need to meet Jesus anew– and in the conversion of each one, find the world has been redeemed as it always has been, one soul at a time. ~
~ IN 2007, CANADIAN astronomers in Binky’s home town were astonished when something apparently came OUT of a black hole. Yup. Escaped.
According to all the postulated ideas of physics, models of what black holes are and how they are supposed to work– as collapsed super-dense star-cores operating like giant cosmic vacuums sucking up everything nearby (including stars, and even light itself)– this new observation just makes no sense.
Now, all the rules and assumptions and theories have to be reworked. Once again, reality and what is smashes through our ideas of the universe and what should be.
Kinder, Gentler Black Holes?
Could it be that these monstrous whirlpools of cosmic doom called black holes might also be, somehow, giant engines of creation? That’s a comfort, since there’s also thought to be a ginormous black hole eating away at the star-crowded heart of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Black holes may giveth, as well as the more obvious aspects of black holes taketh-ing away.
Another Mighty Mystery
An event changing everything, forever– just like the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Easter is more than a day, it’s a whole church season. It’s more than a past event, it’s an omnipresent engine of recreation, new birth, the operating principle of the spiritual universe, the underlying power: Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead on Sunday, April 5th, A.D. 33. It’s not just a past-dead-written-in-a-book moment, it’s a present and powerful principle of the transformation of all things.
For Christ is risen from the dead: He lives in and through his church & people, and his new creation a-borning. In Him, all of creation is groaning and awaiting the remaking of all things into a new heaven and a new earth.
Christ arose, transformed and shining with eternal life— and as he is, we shall be. Jesus was first seen by Mary Magdalen, then by 10 apostles; He appeared on the road to the town of Emmaus to two disciples, walking and talking with them. Later he was seen, the Bible said, by above 500 Christians at once. He preached, comforted, and taught, preparing his apostles for their work, following after His promised departure into heaven, and He & the Father sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost-Day. BOOM.
The Heavenly Ground Zero
Where is the tomb of Jesus? St. Helena the Mother of the Emperor Constantine toured the Holy Land in A.D. 326, and founded several churches on various holy sites remembered by the local Christians down the years as the original places where events connected with Jesus took place. Some may be uncertain, but one is not– the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The Tomb of Jesus has survived burial by the pagan Romans; excavation by the Byzantine Christians with the erection of a glorious basilica and rotunda; the AD 614 invasion by the Persians (destruction of the basilica), then waves of Jihad; next a near-total demolition in AD 1009 ordered by Fatimite Khalif al-Hakim, the Caliph of Egypt (one of the indirect causes of the Crusades); then a rebuilding by the Crusaders, then further earthquakes, fire, and the like. The current building and tomb sure doesn’t look like it originally did– but it’s been through a lot over almost twenty centuries.
The original Tomb was uncovered by the Byzantines, and cut away from the small hill it was cut into. That small building was surrounded by a beautiful rotunda, after which the Dome of the Rock was directly copied from the Rotunda (see ‘Finders, Keepers‘) by a later Muslim ruler over Jerusalem, for fear that the overwhelming beauty of the Christian building would draw Muslims to be converted (or in some cases, to return) to Christianity.
That rotunda was deliberately demolished, and the very tomb itself beaten with hammers and burnt with fire until only part of the funerary-bed and a low wall remained. The crusaders built a small building around what was left, called ‘The Edicule‘. The remaining original stone of the surviving Tomb of Christ is covered and faced with medieval marble, to protect it.
Some Protestants are piously and deeply enamoured of a more ‘original’-looking site designated in the 1860s by a British army colonel, called ‘Gordon’s Tomb‘, but it is of the wrong date, and location. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, shrines and chambers and icons, just doesn’t feel right. Plus, it’s full of Catholics, and exotic Orthodox Christians.
How do we know that the Church of The Holy Sepulchre really is on the right place where Christ was buried and rose again? It’s simple, really. Some other surrounding tombs: and because these tombs are pointed mostly the wrong way. What-now?
More specifically, there are many small early 1st century Jewish-Christian tombs near the Tomb of Jesus. They are not oriented according to proper Jewish custom, West to East, the heavenly East the direction from which the Messiah is supposed to come. From their various encircling locations, these ancient tombs all point, like compass needles seeking True North, towards the central Tomb. This is where it all happened.
“These burial shafts (kokhim) date to the time of Christ’s death and thus attest to some kind of burial ground in the area. Bolen writes, ‘Combined with the evidence from tradition, this church is most likely the true location of the Christ’s death and burial.'”
That is– no need to point East, awaiting Him who is to Come: He has come, he has lived, was crucified and died, and risen again from this very place. This is the new centre of the world, where all things began to be made new; the spot where heaven begins, where new life broke forth from the broken tomb, where angels sat atop the great door-stone and declared “Why do you seek the living amongst the dead? He is not here, he is risen, just as he said.”
This, then is truly the very place and supernatural heart of the great explosion of love that is the new creation– the hub of the world, as it used to be depicted on ancient Christian maps. Like creation, the Resurrection is both a moment, and an ongoing life-giving divine energy and re-creative process, of the Father indwelling the Son, and the Son indwelling us, and we indwelling him. God is making all things new: a new creation.
By comparison, the unlimited and eternal energy, living power, and unfolding consequences of that first Easter make even a super-massive black hole look like a pop-gun. ~
ISE HEART: thy Lord is risen! Sing his praise
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.
Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name,
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.
Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.
I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.
The sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, & th’East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.
Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.
Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee from before His face (Ps. 68:1) As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish; as wax melts before the fire (Ps. 68:2a) So the sinners will perish before the face of God; but let the righteous be glad (Ps. 68:2b) This is the day which the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118:24)
Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs Bestowing life!
This is what Christ’s resurrection & Easter Joy feels like in my soul. Yes, that’s organ and bagpipes. Together. Muwahahahaha.
This has been an awesomely incredible BinksCorp Multimedia Experience, Copyright 2016, all rights, trademarks, and all other thingies whereunto appertaining are hereby reserved, and mine, mine. MINE, I tell you! Your life has now been changed forever. You are most welcome. Easter Hugz & Joy! +
“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.
When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.”
“It is accomplished!”, he cried from the cross. So it’s not over.. it’s just beginning.
For while the disciples weep, and His body sleeps in the cold silence of the sealed and guarded tomb, the Lord Jesus– Lord of both the dead and the living– He is already up and doing, in the spirit. The soul of Christ is amongst the dead, harvesting the first-fruits of his saving victory. Death cannot hold Him: love is stronger than death.
Long have the dead waited for the Light to arise upon them– Adam and Eve are called first, then the great saints and holy kings and prophets and faithful ones of the Old Covenant.. also John the Baptist, and the good thief on the cross. The gates of heaven are opened, and the rescued throngs pour in behind the victorious Lord. Even now, on Holy Saturday, the great Sabbath, He has begun to make all things new. (Revelation 21:5)
And He’s not done yet….
An ancient homily for Holy Saturday
Attributed to Bishop Melito of Sardis, c. AD 180
Something strange is happening — there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with thy spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, o sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give thee light.’
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I in you; together we form one person and cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on My Face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On My back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced My side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise. Let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity. +
THERE ARE TWO pieces of cloth– the smaller one closely matching some marks on the larger one. They have apparently survived 17 years short of 20 centuries; not to mention invasions, Jihad and Crusades, long travel, display, trial, fires, and all the vagaries of time, history, and human frailty.
To the very first people who handed them on, these items were ritually unclean, polluted and polluting, and signs of an accursed, shameful, and unholy death, according to the Jewish Law, the Torah. That these bloody things from a gory execution and death were even handed on, passed down, and venerated in the first place is a strange, remarkable, and mysterious matter in itself.
One is essentially a large bloody rag with pin-holes in it (above); the other is a 14-foot long piece of the very finest herringbone Egyptian linen, woven for use as a Jewish burial cloth, around the time when Julius Caesar had been dead only a little over 75 years. It’s now kept in Portugal. Other ancient cloth samples have likewise survived the centuries– but these particular two still exist because they were protected and kept safe, and for what they were thought to be.
The larger cloth was always venerated down the ages, for the indistinct marks of a naked wounded man somehow imprinted as a photographic negative on the cloth itself, thought to be the image of the dead Jesus Christ. In 1898, an Italian photographer Secondo Pia was startled and surprised as he developed his photographic negatives of the longer cloth– he saw a positive image, with incredible details, leaping out at him from the images: a person, in positive, not negative.
The interest and excitement went international. Debate, discussion and study continue to this day.
Now It Is Seen Clearly
To our modern eyes, these cloths tell a tale so clearly, so contemporary, that our modern forensic science and pathology can give an exact autopsy and cause of death for the dead man who was probably once wrapped in them. The image on the larger cloth is anatomically and medically correct, down to visible bones, blood flow, nerve damage, and other signs of the horrific torture and violence done to this long-ago man.
The man revealed clearly for the first time was tall, well-muscled, and about 5’11”, 185 pounds. The best guess is that average heights in Biblical times in the Holy Land were 5′ 1″ up to as tall as 5′ 5″, so Jesus was tall for his day and age. Average adult male height in 2016 Israel is about 5′ 9″. He had a mid-shoulder short pony-tail.
Via Pia’s photo negatives, previously indistinct marks on the larger cloth were now seen clearly for the first time in 19 centuries– blood-stains, whipping injuries, a large wound on the lower right chest, skinned shoulder and knees, bruised and battered face, broken nose, swollen cheek, torn beard, blood-soaked hair and marked forehead, a dislocated left shoulder, a distended belly, and holes in both wrists and mid-foot.
Over 230 distinct whip-marks and other lacerations appear on the back and front of the body-image, from chest & shoulder to shin & calf. Most marks are typical of the ancient Roman flagrum whip, a wooden handle with three leather thongs and two lead weights per thong. This flogging alone was almost enough to kill him: it was considered so brutal and potentially deadly that no Roman Citizen was supposed to be whipped this way.
That is: these two cloths had been used on the same person, the smaller one doubled over and pinned roughly around the dead man’s head, as he hung upright on a Roman cross; the larger wrapped around him from foot to head to foot after a quick washing of the body, which was then wrapped with winding cloths, in a inclined grave bed. The larger cloth is consistent with 1st century Jewish burial customs. Crucially, the shroud-cloth shows no signs or stains of corruption and decay, no blood smears of the body being somehow being buried half-alive, or moved after it was placed in the tomb.
Despite controversy, certain attention-seeking scientists, and odd theories, a lot of serious peer-reviewed and multi-disciplinary scientific investigations over the last 40 years have been done with the larger cloth– known as The Shroud Of Turin since the 1500s. It has given up many secrets, except one: what is it?
Science can tell what it isn’t (painting, photograph, scorch, or some other artistic technique, or known natural effect), but not what the image on the cloth is, or how it was made. Since science rightly has no experimental categories or laboratory machines which render ‘evidence of God’, or ‘Jesus signs’, or ‘miraculous event’, this is as it should be.
Barrie Schwortz, raised an Orthodox Jew, educating Christians about the Turin Shroud. He created the yuge Shroud.com (see the Latebreaking News page), and he was also part of the 1977-8 STURP Research Team.
Our Abiding Doubts
Still, it’s a possible relic which which only revealed the deepest detail to us– with our tools and experiments and analysis– in our scientific, skeptical, yet spiritually modern seeking age. It’s almost like a God-given sign for OUR age. If this fact does not move you, perhaps nothing will.
To simply declare “It’s a fake! A forgery!” is not a statement of fact, nor does it answer the basic question “A fake what?” Or to argue “You only say that because you want it to be genuine!” invites the fair response “Fine… but perhaps you only say that because you want it not to be genuine!” Remember– lots of his enemies saw the miracles and results of miracles performed by Jesus. Note: these hostile eyewitnesses did not dispute that something extremely strange and unusual had happened, only what it meant, and by what power Jesus had performed such signs and wonders.
An Abiding Question
If these two relics are original and authentic, they reveal to us a snapshot of two related moments from Good Friday, Jerusalem, most likely on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33. They show us the image of a body which has been tortured, crucified and killed, but a body which did not decay, and which somehow vanished from the burial cloths leaving a very unusual image on the Shroud, by means yet unknown and undiscovered.
Jesus never offered invincible proof as to who he was and is, forcing faith and belief in him; he did no undeniable miracles before stadium mobs, nor obeyed the Devil’s suggestion that he leap from the top of the Jerusalem Temple, and drift safely to earth in plain view of the massed crowds. Evidence, likelihood, strong suggestions, a willingness to test by faith and love– only these can take us the rest of the way.
It either is as he said, or not, after all. “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe“, the Risen Jesus says to the no-longer doubting Thomas. To the eyes of faith, the Shroud & Sudarium are transformed from newspaper and internet curiousities into a love letter to our souls, written in his most precious blood.
Me? I believe it’s His, and that He was who He claimed to be: the Son of God Incarnate, the Lord.
After pondering the testimony of early eyewitnesses, archaeology and history, the possible relics like the Shroud and Sudarium, the science, the wondering and asking, we must still overcome our pride and resistance to faith, and our tendency to self-deceptive false faith, or else sheer unbelief. It’s a costly sacrifice. It’s a step of faith, from ‘believing about’, to believing IN’.
That is– not irrational faith, not crazy faith, not faith in any old whatnot, on anybody’s say-so, or faith in spite of the facts, evidence, and likelihoods– but believing in Jesus, after He has called us to seek Him, learn of Him, follow Him, then live and die in Him.
It’s all about trust and love, above all evidences or proofs– for has truly He died and really risen again from death; and ascended bodily into heaven to prepare a place for us, that we might live in union with him and all the saved and the saints.
He will only gently ask us, never force us– to believe and so live in Him, forevermore. ~
The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen, and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said: “Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.”
Eastern Orthodox Troparion (hymn of the day) of Good Friday
A blessed Good Friday to you all, and this article is my gift for you–
+ Saith Teh Binks— I’m already sick of it all, this dark 2016. War and bad news (and, for me, personal troubles) are around us and with us in this new year of the same old. But we cannot only look into darkness, and the malice of our enemies, and the treachery of our leaders, and the hollowness of our failing societies. To stare into the abyss is not spiritually nurturing, or wholesome, or life-giving. To observe Holy Week is to join ourselves with the eternity of God come into our human neighbourhood in Jesus; to know what love, and truth, and goodness, and suffering, and redemption truly is. To ponder and feed upon goodness, for ourselves, our souls, and bodies. +
AS A SMART-ALECKY KID, I heard the name for today, but had no idea what it meant, being only slightly churched.. ‘Monday Thursday’? Tuesday Friday!
Hurr hurr! Yes, I was indeed just that clever, mocking things I was clueless about.
Hurry up already! Bring on Sick From Chocolate Eggs Day!
Today is the day of the Last Supper, and of Christ’s commandment– or mandatum (Latin, englished as Maundy)– that we love one another, even as he loves us.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
After the supper, he kneels, like a lowly and humble servant, and washes his disciple’s feet.
This is soon the next day, as the Jews accounted it– for at sundown, Good Friday begins: in the darkness and mist of Gethsemane, Jesus is tested to the breaking point, willing the cup which is his to pass from him. This is the prayer of nature, but finding he cannot pray it, he submits himself to the Father’s will for all that will come soon, and later, and upon the Cross, and apparently ending in the tomb.
This is the night of bitter betrayal– for nearby him, Peter James and John doze instead of praying with and for him, and across the valley in the Temple courts Judas schemes with the powers that be perhaps to try and force Messiah’s hand, to bring in the kingdom by sword and Roman blood and rebel cry.
In the Passover supper, Jesus offered himself in the bread and wine his body and blood as the true sacrifice. As Judas and the troop of soldiers approach, so Jesus offers himself truly, the spotless Lamb of God, for the greater good that will be accomplished for us, his beloved and wayward flock.
This is love; that he died for us, while we were yet sinners. His patient and suffering love does not give way to self-pity, surrender, unbelief, or curses– he forgives all, to save all. He suffers perfectly; he dies perfectly; he loves and forgives perfectly. Once for all.
Jesus the Lord does not set us some unattainable superhuman example, but sends the Holy Spirit, the Strengthener, the Rememberer, the Lord and giver of new life, God himself poured into us, so we may begin to love one another, as he has loved us. Baby steps at first.
The Upper Room.. Gethsemane Garden.. The Dungeon.. The Whipping Post.. The Cross.. The stone-cold borrowed Tomb: this is what we and our sin and our fickle rejection does to him: but it is engulfed and burnt away in the fire of his human and divine love, as the true and only-begotten Son, the Messiah.
Divine Time Travel
Out of time, by his grace, we really are there and then, if we follow in his footsteps by faith. That holy time and this holy time can be one, united in his eternal love, so that those old things become our new and now things, ever-present mercy and salvation for those who call upon the Name above every other name, Jesus the Lord.
Love him, as he has first loved us. Love one another, even as he loves us. Pray especially for those Christians around the world living their Maundy Thursdays and Good Fridays on many days of the year, as they suffer, and are persecuted, raped, and even killed for the name of Jesus.
And on the Third Day….
“For even to this were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps….“
~ 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.