Tag: Easter

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Saturday night I put on my Sunday best and attended the midnight Easter liturgy at a Greek Orthodox church. A few thoughts: Following along the service was not easy. By bad luck, I ended up in the front pew, so I had to do more side-glancing to keep track of what to do. The congregation […]

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In the enjoyment of a great myth we come nearest to experiencing as a concrete what can otherwise be understood only as an abstraction. [ . . . ][M]yth is the isthmus which connects the peninsular world of thought with that vast continent we really belong to. It is not, like truth, abstract; nor is […]

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“…Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise.”

 

You know how sometimes Scripture just seems to jump out at you, or you notice something you hadn’t before? Well, I had one of those moments Friday. My pastor has a daily devotional podcast, and for the Good Friday episode this year, he opted to simply read the story of Jesus’ sacrifice for us from the Bible. When he was reading from Matthew, one verse in particular struck me (I’ve also included the preceding verses for context):

Then two criminals were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him and said, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God rescue him now — if he takes pleasure in him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with him taunted him.

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We were told but did not believe: He would rise again. The Lord did not cast aside those who turned from Him in unbelief. For the seventy-seventh time, Jesus opened the wondrous treasury of His sacred heart and let His mercy rain down upon us in abundance.  Let them turn to the LORD to find […]

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Hot Cross Buns (updated with photo)

 

Wildflower Bread hot cross bunsHot cross buns have been associated with the Easter season for centuries. The tradition started in Britain and spread with the empire. That helps explain why the tradition would not be recognized by a desert southwest coffeehouse keeper, as these buns were not part of the old Spanish  culture. As Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, wrote:

English folklore said that Hot Cross Buns baked on Good Friday would never spoil throughout the following year. Some bakers believed that holding on to one Hot Cross Bun and hanging it in the kitchen meant that all yeast products in the coming year would rise successfully. Some sailors took Hot Cross Buns on their voyages to ensure their ships wouldn’t sink. And friends who gift one another with Hot Cross Buns every year are said to remain friends for life.

I noted several years ago that Panera Bread stopped offering hot cross buns, while an Arizona chain, Wildflower Bread, continues to offer holiday orders of hot cross buns. This year, I thought I would try my hand at baking a batch.

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How complete was the Lord’s suffering for us?  Jesus knew the joy of Heaven before the day of His resurrection. The second Person of the Trinity, the Logos, our Creator — He knew the perfect justice, perfect love, and perfect peace of His own trinitarian nature before He created humankind; before He adopted this limited […]

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What worlds have you made?  It is good that we have questions for our Creator. Faith and reason belong together and do not contradict. We were made to reason. Christianity dares to suggest that we can understand much about our divine Lord and His unfolding plans for us. But surely reason must lead us to […]

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Is Palm Sunday Still Honored?

 

Today is a holy day among Christians, at least it used to be. Palm Sunday was always featured in headlines and honored.  The only headline I saw this morning was a bombing in Indonesia during a Palm Sunday Mass, with fatalities. Does the world still stop on this day, and think about its significance?

In Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew specifically draws attention to a number of Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus.

In the first verse of Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, we hear that Jesus and the disciples were in Bethpage. Bethpage is one of the last villages on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, and is located on the Mount of Olives.

It’s Officially Spring !

 

“The supermarket is a wonderful invention – efficient, convenient, virtually unlimited choice, and everything squeaky-plastic clean. Here you see the delightful weekly alternative: the weekly market in the village of Cucuron, where the stalls are set out around the shimmering rectangle of one of the biggest ‘bassins’ in Provence. It’s true that you won’t find here the essentials of modern life. This isn’t the place to come for canned and deep-frozen products, dishwashing liquid, pre-packed dinners for two, or deodorant.

But if your shopping list includes fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, local cheeses, the odd curious kitchen gadget, a variety of sausages, ham on the bone, and wine from the village ‘merchand de vins’, you won’t be disappointed. And even if you buy nothing except a cup of coffee in the market cafe, you will have spent the morning in lyrical surroundings you won’t forget for a long time.” from My Twenty-five Years in Provence by Peter Mayle.

Happy First Day of Spring!  Plant some herbs, visit a park, bring some early flowering branches indoors. Buy local produce this year and cheer the season of renewal with a glass of wine!  See you next year Punxsutawney Phil!

What Was So Good About Friday?

 

Lights on HilltopsThe western churches are celebrating the beginning of Easter season, while the Orthodox Church marks the beginning of Holy Week with Palm Sunday, a matter of differing calendars. At the same time, Jews have been marking Passover, which Christians believe to be both a historic event and a prefigurement of the events commemorated in the highest holy days in the Christian faith. While we are constrained by government, for the first time in modern history, from gathering together in fulfillment of religious obligations and in communal affirmation of our faith, congregations are still celebrating the ancient truths, perhaps more than ever, as “virtual” attendance anecdotally exceeds the usual physical attendance. Our current circumstances may make us reflect more closely on the habitual rituals and readings.

Recall that the first Passover found families sheltering in place in their homes. On the instruction of their leaders, each family had selected a lamb, killed it, painting the doorposts and the lintel, the cross-member framing the top of the doorway, with the lamb’s blood. The family was eating the roasted lamb with their traveling clothes on, ready to move out when ordered, after the Angel of Death had passed them by.*

So, that first Passover would have been quite dark, quite scary. After all, they were warned of a great plague, and had only the blood-stained doorway between themselves and that killer. Yet, that darkest night was also a time of hope based in a promise. They were all dressed for a speedy departure because they were promised liberation in the wake of the plague.

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  For those of us alone this Easter Sunday due to government edicts, it’s nice to remember ’twas not always thus. It started back in 1957. Jim Pop was the stupid city slicker who was willing to pay $1,000 an acre for 12 acres way out in Conn Valley—four miles from town and a mile […]

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  For those of us alone this Easter Sunday due to government edicts, it’s nice to remember ’twas not always thus. It started back in 1957. Jim Pop was the stupid city slicker who was willing to pay $1,000 an acre for 12 acres way out in Conn Valley—four miles from town and a mile […]

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Reading and watching the news with bemused dismay as government officials, be they town, county, or state, try to lock down people from celebrating Easter, or attending any religious service, I proposed a partial theory to Mr. C.  Because people are not out driving as much, the police aren’t able to issue traffic tickets, which […]

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Friday Food and Drink Post: One a Penny, Two a Penny…

 

A Good Friday tradition I don’t always adhere to but which, for many reasons, this year I thought I should. Blessings and a joyous Easter season to all Christians, a Happy Passover holiday to all of the Jewish faith, and best wishes for the happiness, safety, and health of absolutely everyone.

Legend has it that the first hot cross buns were baked in England by a monk of the 12th (or perhaps the 14th–you pick it) century and that he distributed them to the poor on Good Friday. There are other traditions associated with them: Hanging one in the kitchen is supposed to repel evil spirits, and the bun is supposed to stay fresh for an entire year (unlike the Burger King Whopper in that weird and rather revolting ad). As the years passed, hot cross buns became a popular staple of English bakeries, until Queen Elizabeth I decreed that they were sacred, and could be sold only on Good Friday and at Christmas. Unsurprisingly, this led to the baking of hot cross buns in the family kitchen, and another tradition was born.

No one really knows how old the nursery rhyme is, but it’s a variant of the street-seller’s cry:

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Again, Christians begin Holy Week. Beginning with remembrance of Christ’s humble entry into Jerusalem, ending with God’s submission to crucifixion and His triumph over death, we review the heart of revelation. On Christmas, we celebrate in awe that God became Man to more intimately join His creation. On Easter, we understand more fully why the […]

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Group Writing April: Easter Flowers

 

Years ago, my daughter asked for us to join our parish’s Altar Rosary Society, which is a group of parishioners who clean the church, launder the altar linens, straighten up the pews and, at Easter and Christmas, we decorate the church. For Christmas, there are poinsettias and ropes of evergreen garlands. Usually for Easter, there are dozens of lilies and hyacinths and daffodils and other beautiful spring flowers to adorn the altar and the statues of Mary and the saints, filling the church with their heavenly smell.

Tomorrow, the day before Palm Sunday, is usually the day we get out our buckets and clean all the wood in the church, and give the whole building an extra-special cleaning for Easter. As everyone knows, Murphy’s Oil is the smell of “clean.”