(the R is for really)

Jesus might have had an idea. His idea might have involved every person who would ever live after his death, and resurrection.  The idea might come to him on his return to heaven.  His thought process might have been something like this: 

I have given so much – my entire life, that all of mankind be rewarded with the possibility of eternal life and peace in here in heaven.  I hope that people will come to know me, to appreciate and celebrate the struggles and the sacrifice I have made for my Father, and for them.  As they come to know me, I hope they will gather and celebrate in the form of right-living, practiced through ritual observances.” 

His idea for the ritualistic observance of his death and resurrection might have been a simple one; that one day per year we should all stop, gather around a table with friends and family, and in Jesus’ own name, celebrate his death and resurrection by doing harm to ourselves – together.  His idea probably wouldn’t stop there.  Likely, Jesus would want us to do additional harm to our children – even greater harm than he would want us to do to ourselves.

Jesus’ big idea for this celebration would be to gather round, and eat all kinds of crap, do so all day long, and do so in his name.  Glazed ham, hot cross buns, casseroles, breads, cakes, pies, and good old alcohol, and all of this with second and third helpings included.   After all, wasn’t his entire life dedicated to preaching the act of indulgence and excess? 

Well, there was also that part of his early life that was dedicated to teaching the ritual gathering, and subsequent poisoning of children, you know, with kid-poison; jelly beans, chocolates bunnies, puffy marshmallow things, and baskets offered to all the little ones, full of the same – and all in the name of Him.

Sweet Jesus, what have we done...?

Now, if you’re like me and you really don’t believe Jesus wanted us to harm each other in any way, least of all in his name, then my question to you is this:  Why is Easter, the observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, celebrated in this way?  It seems lacking in mindfulness.

I’m not suggesting that this very solemn Christian holiday be celebrated without food or gathering.  In fact, ritual observances, which include food, are the mortar that helps keep the bricks of faith held in place.  I do suggest that, very Americanly, we excessively emphasize the occasion, thus diluting the cause for the occasion. 

I am also suggesting that that if one steps back and looks at the larger picture of the American Easter celebration, and then compares the details of that celebration process to the lessons we perceive that Jesus was trying to teach us, one might have trouble seeing where high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, and type-II diabetes fit in to the equation.

Please print this and column and place it under the cross-shaped WWJD magnet that you (may) have on your refrigerator.  In 9 months, please make the following substitutions:

  1. Jesus’ birth, for death and resurrection
  2. Candy canes and Chocolate Santa’s, for Peeps
  3. Roast Beef, for Ham – at least in Whoville

To my Jewish friends and family, please make appropriate substitutions as desired for the holidays of Hanukah and Passover:

  1. Passover, for Easter
  2. Hanukah, for Christmas
  3. Moses, for Jesus
  4. Hanukah gelt, for Peeps

And actually, you may go ahead and keep the traditional Seder dinner intact; nutritionally balanced and inherent portion control, but maybe we could cut down a bit on the wine.  Peace.  rc

9 responses

  1. Thank you so much Roy, for this reflective post on Easter!

    As an artist I felt the obligation to do a sculpture of the crucification. I couldn’t bring myself to do the traditional viewpoint of a dying Christ on the cross. Instead I did what I call “The Resucution.” Jesus is strong, uplifted, and the master of his destiny, much as I feel he wanted for us.

    My favorite thing to do on Easter is to be in St. Augustine, Florida, where they have a small chapel, the first one in our oldest city. Near the chapel is a huge cross on the edge of the ocean. I like to lie at the base of that cross and look skyward, reflecting on that first voyage, and the one that I find myself on.

  2. Dr. J: What a grounding moment that must be, under that cross looking upward. St. Augustine is place I have still not been, but if I find myself there, I shall do the same.

    Karen: Agreed, as always. At Easter brunches and dinners I have attended, I always want to throw my arms in the air and scream, “Hey! Was anyone listening?”

    Diane: By way of contemporary writer and artist, James Prosek (www.troutsite.com) , I recently discovered The Compleat Angler by 16th century poet, philosopher and naturalist Isaak Walton. Though I have not yet begun to read The Compleat Angler, Mr.Prosek suggests that it was a written call to return to “Primitive Christianity” when what mattered most was not the means, but the belief. We are all means these days it seems.

  3. Always interesting posts here!

    I agree that the excess & lack of portion control is the problem along with the focus on the food rather than the holiday or the meaning behind it. We get so caught up in celebrations always surrounding food. I grew up that way! A good exercise would to have familes make it more about the traditions, the family & friends & a celebration of life. Today, it does seem to be all about the food! Nothing wrong with having treats but it is the excess & lack of total control & awareness that leads us into the obesity crisis.

    Thx Roy!

  4. Jody: I agree. In truth, forgive me Dr. Pilot, I think treats are an okay thing — so long as the context of “treat” is remembered. I raised my daughter to know “sometimes foods” and “always foods” . To this day (she’s nearly 20) she can distuignwish them in an instant.

  5. You raise a very interesting point. I’m sure Jesus would never fathom the obesity epidemic that has currently taken over in our world nor the holidays and the correlation of stuffing ourselves full of crap in His and the holiday’s name.

    Whatever happened to just sitting down with your friends and family and breaking bread???

    Has our “world” become so commercial with all of the goodies and sugar that holidays seem to symbolize?

    I know when I started my healthy journey last November, people said to me, “Why on Earth would you want to start right before the holidays?! You’re setting yourself up for failure!”

    I didn’t have a smart or witty response back then, but if I was asked that now, I’d probably ask them why they subject themselves to junk food in excessive amounts in the name of a holiday and why should I prolong saving my life so I could have a few pounds of cookies and treats?

  6. Roy… I am blown away by your writing.

    I found your piece, “A Personal Discourse On Fitness…” on anonfatgirl’s blog – and I knew I had to read more of your work tonight. It’s amazing. Do you have a writing background – or are you simply one of those lucky folks who can put words together and “make magic”? Either way, keep it up. I’m about to become a follower.

  7. LRHG: Thank you for the kind words. Truly, I am just a mimic with no writing talent at all, but I appreciate your comment. I just try and write from perspectives that others might not see.

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