Good. Let’s talk religion. The thing is, since Chopped Liver* stopped posting, some of us have lost our moral compass. Take Miz S for example…No,no, just kidding, Mary. Bonnie watches over us, posting comments in verse that leave us feeling loved, slightly embarrassed and chastised- and laughing. To wit:
Your adorable manatee
Surely struggles with vanity.
But, why the profanity?!
Practice yoga for sanity!
Shouldn’t posts pre-Maundy
or, one my all-time favorites:
Yoga love is in the air.
Of course, I favor “derriere.”
Alas, in weather hot or frigian,
Rich’s tastes run callipygian.
Vicki leads a charmed life, we know;
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
The thing that was always so wonderful about opening Bonnie’s page was that you came away not only feeling uplifted but better educated and dazzled by her images from art. A rabid Wolverine hater, loyal forever to that cow college in East Lansing, her loving heart is not adverse to taking on Big Dave or Hoss- or little ol’ me- when it comes to sports. A first rate yogini she admonishes us all (sometimes ad nauseam) that yoga (along with faith, art, music, the Spartans and many children) make for the perfect life, here on earth. Plus, we’ll all be happy and relaxed. Her politics are peculiar: yes, she voted for the possibility of the first black president. Alan Keyes. Sigh.
Bonnie no longer updates. Who knows? Maybe true self-actualization comes and one stops posting altogether. Soon after she quit, her first blog was consumed by a porn site. Am I the only one who thought it was not only ironic but hysterically funny that the prim author of Les Petits Bonheurs walked out the door only to find that sex fiends instantly moved in? Served her right for some of the spicy tidbits she leaves hither and yon, usually under a pen name. She revived her site briefly and renamed it Babette’s Feast and you can still stop by there for archives of eye candy, great links, musical insights and, as always, strenuous yoga positions. With videos.
I suspect it is only through divine intervention that one can produce nearly a dozen beautiful, productive, smart, funny and responsible children and still have time to teach yoga and music and art and then find moments to fly through the neighborhood calling out, “Parsvakonasana!” So, with a nod to one of the truly good mothers in this blogging neighborhood I offer you a dose of religious education. It’s good for you. Plus, if we take care of Maundy Thursday and then go silent on Good Friday, it leads us right up to….drum roll, please!…PEEP SATURDAY! That’s right. As soon as I finish this brief lesson in religion 101, I’m back to hardening off my peeps (a crucial step if you plan to expose them to the great outdoors OR eat them. They need a crust.)
(*What am I, chopped liver?! À demain! xoxo)
Some of the world’s great religions, including Christianity, have a way of sneaking in the really HIGH holy days without many of us noticing. Such is Maundy Thursday. Yes, there’s Good Friday and yes, there’s Easter Sunday but realistically, Maundy Thursday was the end of the work week for Jesus. The last day he punched the clock, so to speak. On this particular Thursday (or whatever day of the week it was around 30 AD) four very important things happened while Jesus was still alive and well in his earthly form- the one that would have been, eventually, susceptible to basal cell depending on his skin type, which is another discussion altogether.
The main event of that Thursday was the last supper. It was at this last supper (no capital letters yet, because only in retrospect, did this all become important. The way you sometimes get insights to your parents strange behavior after they’re dead and it’s too late? Like that, except in this case, there’s the miracle of it never being too late)… anyway, at this supper Jesus instituted the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, that great and magical symbolism whereby passover wafers become the body of Christ and the wine becomes the blood. The thing I appreciate most about this event is this: EVERYBODY was at the table. Everything you know about all those so human, so weak, so doubting disciples? Doubting Thomas, the tax collector, a revolutionary, the mother of all turncoats? Right. They were all at the table, all taking part, all welcomed by Jesus himself. I don’t know if any of them were divorced or gay- probably, because they were a very scruffy lot- but no one was standing there saying, “okay, one for you, none for you…”
(this post will either get bonnie back to blogging or drive her from the hood altogether. I’m not as eloquent or smart about this stuff, by a fraction, as she is.)
So, communion was one thing. Another was Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. There he is, all the way down the path, knowing what’s coming because he gets the news straight from The Source and you would think that after all this time of being Jesus he would be, like, “Bring It!” But no, he’s sweating blood. I love the idea that he is so much one of us that he is all afraid and trembling and full of sorrow. Religious scholars have gone around and around on this one, arguing about what, exactly, had Him so upset. They’ve hashed it over, not unlike Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. I, personally, in all humbleness, think it isn’t that complicated. And it’s not all that audacious to say, “hey! put yourself in his sandals! Leaving his friends, the betrayal, ay! the upcoming Crucifixion…” because that’s the whole point: he was here, as we are.
Then there’s the betrayal. Poor Judas Iscariot. What a regular screw-up he turned out to be. Kind of like your home town high school jerk who can’t get out from under all those bummer influences and grow-up. Or like a politician who sells out. Anyway, now his name is synonymous with traitor and that’s kind of a bad rap, because somebody had to be the bad guy in all of this. That was a foregone conclusion.
Wrapping up our Maundy Thursday lesson, not in the style of Bonnie, I’ll tell you about the 4th very important thing that makes this a most holy of all holy days. This was the day that Christ washed his disciples feet.
Starting with Simon Peter, they all protest that Jesus should not be stooping to washing their very desert-dirty feet. But (here it is) Jesus says:
“Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. (John 13:1-15).
The word Maundy is derived through Middle English and French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” :“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”
So, there it is folks. The significance of Maundy Thursday. Love One Another. Once again I have reduced centuries of religious history and thought to the Reader’s Digest-like version, according to me. Some of us practice our faith in churches with so many rules and shoulds and shouldn’ts that we don’t need to internalize what it all means. The external scaffolding is so sturdy and seemingly permanent that we don’t really need to construct the foundation within. That works until the day, whoops, when the scaffolding isn’t there. Some of us, when it comes to faith, ultimately sift out the bits and pieces that work for us. Sometimes, we’re sifting for a rationale or an excuse. Sometimes we’re sifting for understanding and comfort. I like to think that one of the best things about faith, having faith, is that I can search around and find the parts that not only give me what I need for my spiritual nourishment but also, I find the parts that help raise me up a little higher or, in this case, a little lower. A little bit closer to where I ought to be. Love One Another.
Bonnie always had fine art to go along with her inspirational posts. The masterpiece of choice here would be, of course, DaVinci’s Last Supper, either pre- or post restoration. Because I am spending this Easter in St. Petersburg, home of the Dali Museum (although this masterwork is in the National Gallery) and part of life is finding beauty in new places, I give you this: The Sacrament of the Last Supper painted by Dali in 1955. He might have been whacky but he was very devout and it’s been wonderful to be able to see some of his finest religious works housed here on a regular basis. About this painting Dali said “this was an arithmetic and philosophical cosmogony based on the paranoiac sublimity of the number twelve…the pentagon contains microcosmic man: Christ” See? I told you he was whacked. The painting has twelve pentagons and the twelve disciples. (do not make me come back here and find those pentagons for you.) For me, the beauty of this painting is in the light and in the transparency of Jesus- he’s already making his move- and the depiction of the ascension in the background. (you can click on the thumbnail and get the whole painting.)
Have a blessed Maundy Thursday and, if I don’t see you, Good Friday. I will definitely be here for Peep Saturday. Do you remember my previous masterpiece- “Godzilla with Peeps and daffodils”? Well, I’m working on the Florida version…