When my grandfather died in the 1980’s some of his books ended up in my mother’s house. I read quite a few of them and I especially remember The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. I can’t remember any details from the book, other than being fascinated by the Roman officer that executed Jesus. He travelled through Judea, Samaria and Galilee, in this fictional book, on a quest to find out more about Jesus.
It feels like I have done the same for much of the time since I read this book as a teenager. That’s so long ago it feels like a different life, someone else’s life. I have been trying to figure out who this Jesus person is and where he can be located. It’s supposed to be so easy, but I guess it would help if I was more of a people person, or if these people I’m supposed to trust didn’t make life harder.
The Easter story is very troubling. Judas Iskariot was in some ways like me, he was the odd one out. He wasn’t like the other disciples and maybe he didn’t have much of a personal relationship with Jesus. That’s what the author wants us to believe anyway. Was he a part of God’s plan from the moment he became a disciple? Could he have chosen differently? If we assume that God used Judas as a part of his plan, was that fair? If he did, Judas didn’t deserve to be known as the man who betrayed Jesus. Why did Jesus want him as a disciple?
I know I should be thinking of Jesus during Easter, and no one else. I recognize that Jesus is the main story, but there are also some disturbing elements in the story. It’s as if nothing has changed since God supposedly took pleasure in killing the Canaanites, and even though the people of Jericho didn’t attack Israel, but stayed inside the walls, Israel was ordered to kill all of them (Joshua 6:22). It’s troubling thinking that Judas showed remorse, but forgiveness was not an option, while it clearly was for Peter when he later betrayed Jesus. Mark 14:18 suggest that Jesus really saw Judas as a betrayer.
I’m sure some of you would gladly tell me that Peter never gave up, never allowed despair to overwhelm him, and always trusted God’s plan. Being rather tenacious myself I can see that point, but I do have some sympathy for Judas. The blogger Under Reconstruction recently posted Judas Iskariot and the Year of Mercy. That might be the message the author of the gospel wanted to send us, but there are many events in the Bible I have never felt comfortable with, and this is one of them. I also recommend Wrestling With Faith – Dancing With Jesus. This Danish blogger living in Japan posted My Savior is Alive today.
God’s love for man may be very strange at times, but Easter is still a happy time. I think someone in Church told my daughter that Easter is the most important holiday. I see the point, but I don’t think the birth of Jesus was necessarily less important. Like Christmas this is a good time to reflect on the meaning of life, and what we should focus on during the short time we get to spend on this planet.
Christianity took over some pagan traditions and made them a part of their own religion. I assume that’s where the eggs came from, but the symbolism does make a certain amount of sense. When we crack the eggs open we are reminded of the resurrection of Christ and the empty tomb.
I’m not sure about the symbolism in the colours, but I assume that red symbolises the blood of Christ. We like to dye the eggs for Easter breakfast using baking soda and juice from black berries to get green. Turmeric or yellow safran and vinegar makes the eggs yellow, beets and vinegar give you pink, red cabbage and vinegar give you blue, and red onion or coffee and vinegar give you brown eggs. I guess we’ll keep doing this as long as my daughter likes it.