Lundi, Mardi, Mercredi, Maundi Jeudi…

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
Mention Christianity?

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)

______________________________________

Maundy Thursday

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.

250px-giotto_-_scrovegni_-_-30-_-_washing_of_feet.jpg

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.)
in520dali-ls.jpg

in520dali-ls.jpg

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…

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16 responses to “Lundi, Mardi, Mercredi, Maundi Jeudi…

  1. Thank you, Vicki. I now understand Maundy Thursday. I confess, if this was ever explained to me in Sunday School, I must have been asleep. I don’t ever recall knowing the significance. Raised Presbyterian, as was my husband, we no longer are church goers. Our denomination, frankly, has gone a bit whacky and I don’t have the energy for it. We were married in the Universalist-Unitarian Church in Bloomington, Indiana, where we were living at the time (hubs hometown), and really liked that church. And the woman minister. Our son attended Espiscopalian schools in Louisiana and here in Houston until high school.

    No wonder we are confused. I won’t even go into my husband’s commune days with the mahareshi!

    If I don’t bend your ear again this weekend, Happy Easter to you, Vicki!

  2. I do hope Bonnie will post this Easter. As you said her posts are so edifying. I will never forget the year that everyone was remembering the victims of 9/11. I went to her site, and there was a photo of beautiful water lilies and the hymn, “Be Still My Soul.” It was just what one needed after remembering the tragedy of that day.

  3. Vicki, if they were still handing out perfect posts here in blogland, I’d nominate you for this one. I never really understood Maundy Thurs. before either, so I think you for that. I was raised Methodist, married Catholic, attended a non-denominational church until recently and dallied with new age stuff for many years. I am nothing if not ecelectic! Happy Easter to you and yours. (I am beside myself to find that you posted twice in a row!)

  4. THANK you, of course, not think. Sorry.

  5. I’m soooo looking forward to another peep masterpiece. You do know that I regard the original as the best photo ever to be put on the internet.

    No pressure. 🙂

  6. This is an amazing post on many levels, the homage to our dear Bonnie, the Reader’s Digest version of Maundy Thursday(or jeudi, if you prefer) and the uplifting thoughts on the power of religion for GOOD. This lapsed but still spiritual Episcopalian thanks you!

  7. I was so upset the first time that Bonnie quit blogging. That was before I knew that she always turns up (like a bad penny?) when one least expects it. In my case, usually after I have posted something laced with particularly vulgar language.

    Vicki, it warms my blasphemous little heart to see how similar we are when it comes to spirituality. Thanks for your Maundy Thursday lesson. I learned a lot.

  8. Giotto and Sal?!
    You’re my best pal!

    You are so neat
    That washing your feet
    Would be a great treat.

    Love one another?
    Sister and brother?!
    A new yoga tee
    Reads “Love your Mother.”

    Amateur Passion plays,
    Lutheran High Feast days;
    What the f–k?
    Another potluck?!

    Alan Keyes:
    I only tease!
    And, I am more blog-frightened
    Than truly enlightened.

    But, since pour moi you did boast,
    I will put up a post.
    (Not tomorrow;
    Do not sorrow.)
    For on the first full day of Spring
    Came a wonderful thing.
    Bach was born and guess what?
    Bruce and I tied the knot.
    So, Good Friday this year
    Will bring joy and a tear.
    Love Divine, all love excelling,
    And my one true love, still compelling.

    What Vicki sows/sews, so she reaps:
    Love from blogdom’s most discerning peeps!

    I love you!
    Gros bisous!!

  9. Hey you’re back! And just in time for me to get back on line as my laptop that I left in my friend’s car so it went to Tennessee while I returned to Florida is now home again safe and sound. Hope to see you soon? Thanks for the reminder of what this season is all about. (and not just peeps0 :0)

  10. Ha! Bonnie said “F-k”

  11. Very nice post on what Christ went through. He taught in parables and by setting examples. I don’t think I have ever seen this picture of the last supper. Thanks for the post.

  12. Vicki, go here and read about hearing aids:

    http://patspastimperfect.blogspot.com/2008/03/my-own-p.html

    I have only written a very tiny paragraph about getting tested, but Pat’s experience is similar to mine in every way. Her post of yesterday shows a photo of what she is getting and talks a little more about it. You’ll enjoy her blog. She is English, a former photographic model and still a beautiful woman in her elder years!

  13. That apple on the table strongly represents the one that drew old Evie down. Unless it’s a persimmon.

  14. Cool post. I didn’t know one could say so much about Maundy Thursday; which would, if you don’t mind my noticing, make a great name for a band. That is my one and only edifying comment.

  15. I watched an episode of ‘The Passion’ on British TV last night which included the quite moving washing of the feet and his doubts and fears. I have found your post helpful and comforting. Previously I associated Maundy Thursday with Her Maj giving out shillings to old soldiers. It is more meaningful now. I used to love bible stories as a child and still find them absorbing. Thank you.

  16. Thank you Pat for sending me here – I am illuminated!

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