Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Meditations--Next Best Thing to Taking a Nap.

If not for a sense of shame, I would be in bed right now.  I would be sleeping.  But my husband is at work and my children are at school, and the fact that I work in the same building as my (soft, comfortable, inviting) bed doesn't exempt me from working.  At least not right this very minute.

We are all tired because we went to Hawaii for a week, and flew back on a red-eye flight, the sort that claims to land at 6 am but really lands at 2am in the time zone to which your body has become accustomed.  If you're lucky--and we were--you will land just in time for your daughter's high school tennis match, which will last for decades, and yes, I'm aware that whining about how my lovely tropical vacation has worn me out is just about the most obnoxious thing I could do.

So I'll talk about Easter.

Mass at the little Catholic church on Maui was fun; the priest wore a gorgeous floral lei, and parts of the Mass were sung in Hawaiian.  The "Holy, Holy, Holy" was actually sung in a mixture of Hawaiian and Latin, something I at least don't hear every day. 

Mass was pretty much the sum of our Easter; I didn't attempt baskets or even candy.  My children are teenagers, but, even when they were small, my son was fairly disinterested in Easter candy.  He doesn't like jelly beans and has only moderate enthusiasm for chocolate.  In years past, I've eaten his Easter candy myself, along about the end of June.  I've never given big gifts at Easter.  We often seem to be traveling--we've gone to Easter Mass in a slew of interesting places, from a tiny village church in rural Costa Rica to the Duomo in Florence, Italy--and the trips themselves were gift enough.  That, and I've never thought of Easter as being about presents.  It's about gratitude, certainly.  But rabbits?  Eggs?  never wildly meaningful.

So I was surprised to read about one of my favorite knitting blogger's Easter preparations:  colored eggs, baskets, hot cross buns--which is to say, everything traditional EXCEPT the church service, because--get this--she's not Christian.  I'm sure there's nothing wrong with this, only, why bother?  I wanted to write and ask her if she was celebrating the ancient pagan holiday, or just liked to dye eggs, or what was the point, but I couldn't figure out how not to sound rude.  She celebrates Christmas, too.  I'd love to hear if any of you understand this, because I really don't.  Secular Christmas sounds a lot like secular Yom Kippur, which is not something I've ever personally celebrated.

Meanwhile, the new Pope attracted a bunch of attention on Holy Thursday when, instead of washing the feet of 12 retired priests in St. Peter's basilica, he washed the feet of 12 juvenile inmates at a Roman youth prison, including those of two young women, one of whom was Muslim.  While not the first time this particular man had washed the feet of women (he did so as Archbishop), it was the first time a Pope ever had.  Apparently Popes always washed the feet of priests before because Jesus washed the feet of the 12 disciples, all men, but to me that interpretation was totally missing the point.  In the first place, the Pope is the successor of Peter, not Christ.  (Lucky for him.  What a job that would be!)  In the second, the foot-washing seemed to be a gesture of humility and service, not a re-enactment of the Last Supper.  My husband feels I shouldn't disparage previous Popes; tradition, he says, has value.  It does--but the sheer amount of press this particular foot-washing received seems to indicate that the world doesn't usually view the Pope as a servant, which is of course what he's supposed to be.  All that stuff about whatever you do for the least, you do for Me.

Anyway, I'd like to hear your thoughts about the Pope, too, and about the role of Christians in the world.  If you have any.  Me, I'm all out of thoughts for the day.  It's a miracle I'm not going back to bed.