Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Maundy Thursday

It's not one of the "biggies." Yet to me it is. Oh, yes, there's Christmas and Easter--Easter being the embodiment of what it means to be a Christian. Some people say these are just random days, or times when you need to get to church, or dress in red and green or then pastels. Some people say the days and dates were fixed by divine direction. In actuality, they were pagan holidays (feasts of Saturn, Bacchus and all that jazz) to which a bunch of dudes in Nicea one truly random day decided to hitch the Christian wagon. And even those holidays were fixed to older, primordial events like solstices and equinoxes. So much for the redneck Christian edict that Islam is a "derivative" or copycat religion, but alas, I'm Christopher Chambers, not Christopher Hitchens, so I'll get to my point.
Maundy Thursday was supposedly the last night of Passover. The Last Supper, if you will. And here's my thesis: you are whipped, beaten and nailed to a piece of wood. Thats horror. But what stirs the soul is preparing for all of that in your heart, your year, your balls. You're told you're the Son of God, and yet you're a man, a normal guy, a poor working stiff with dark skin and wholly hair and deep chestnut eyes and you feel pain, love, yearning (yeah, I say Mary Magdelene was no ho'. She was his girl--so what?). Imagine knowing you are going to die, but not being able to share it with your family, your girl, your friends? Imagine this message passed to you by a being who supposedly could save you if he/she/it really wanted to? Talk about ambivalence!
And then there's this: betrayal. Judas dimed him to the local Jewish authorities (who had a tenuous hold on power) and the Roman occupiers who propped them up...no present Iraq allegory intended ;-), by the way. Yet was Judas evil? Imagine that cat's ambivelance. I don't he was evil, and apparently neither did Jesus. Judas was hardcore, true...he thought Jesus was taking the revolution down a weird primrose path. There was politics, there was personality. And yet Judas loved Jesus and vice versa and that Maundy Thursday Jesus even foresaw the kiss. Interesting. See, on that night of a kiss, of a meal commerating freedom from slavery, he gave us an Eleventh Commandment, one that superseded(though didn't totally erase) all of the rest. If you followed it, the other Ten were pretty much meaningless anyway, right? Love one another. No matter who, no matter what. Wow...
I'll differ with Hitchens here. Never before had such been the foundation of a religion, a creed, the superstitions of a tribe, the rules of a cult. Love one another. Couple with that this curious allegorical act: on Maundy Thursday, he washed folks' feet. He told his boys, and Mary his girl, to go out and literally and figuratively wash feet. Even the nastiest, poorest bastard or ugliest chancrous hag. Wash their feet. All the while, he's thinking, dreading, praying, hurting, peeing in his loincloth as the afternoon shades to night and night darkens and he knows something horrific is coming. He knows his friend Judas must do what he must. He knows he'll never touch his girlfriend's hand again, or kiss is mother, or see his brothers and sisters...
All on a Thursday. A stupid Thursday. Thursday's a blur to most of us in our modern blurry world. But it's my big holiday.
There's so much wrapped in it. Being born, being beate down, being killed, rising from the dead, preaching, saying good-bye--yes, that's the stuff that gets the folks in the pews, that makes for good ratings. But in the quiet day and night before, is what makes him immortal in my mind, and truly shows what a soul is, or can be.

12 comments:

Chicama Vineyard said...

Amen. I am back to being a fan of yours!

Anonymous said...

At first I was going to say "leave theology to the experts," (smile) but then I thought about what you expressed. Interesting point of view and I commend you.

Natalie said...

I could never wash the feet of some nasty stranger, particularly in a time when they walked everywhere. That alone is enough to celebrate.

Anonymous said...

Nice thoughts.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

"Never before had such been the foundation of a religion, a creed, the superstitions of a tribe, the rules of a cult. Love one another."

That passage really spoke to me.

Pebbles Flintstone said...

Chambers,
You continue to surprise me. I knew that you were a man of faith, but I was not expecting this moving missive on Maundy Thursday. Very good.

Ferocious Kitty said...

You never cease to amaze, inspire, and provoke. This is why I keep reading.

~Deesha

Angie said...

Thursday... I'll never think of that faithful day the same. Thanks for the perspective.

66Mustangwrangler said...

This is a different sort of post for you but it seems to be under the general rubric of culture.

It is hard for me to see the good in bad people. This is something universal in law enforcement, whether you are riding a patrol or here in the federal government. Yet we try, for if we didn't we would burn out.

Thank you for your wonderful thoughts.

p.s. I am starved for a political post attacking your govenor Mr. O'Malley. Certain people in a household near ours were let go from State Employment in law enforcement-which is my way of being cryptic-for reasons having nothing to do with competence. I saw in previous posts from last year you are not a supporter of his even though you voted for him.

Anonymous said...

meh!

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well this is one of the most famous date in the Christian celebrations, and the messange that left this date is so important to the people who believe in this.

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