GOOD FRIDAY and ON BLOGGING
Good Friday. I’ve always wondered why they call it that.
The short version goes something like this. Jesus Christ, after being bandied about between powerful politicians of the day who don’t know what to do with him, make an executive decision. Herod mocks him, before passing him along to Pontius Pilate. Pilate attempts to wash his hands of him, though he is bemused by his reluctance to speak in anything but ambiguous aphorisms and airy-fairy new-age gobbledegook, intrigued by his refusal to defend himself, his nonchalant attitude.
Hoping to mollify the Jews who are calling for his head, (nothing personal – he is, after all, dangerous to their agenda, and the quicker they can sweep away this fake news rabbi cum Messiah and get back to status quo, the better,) Pilate has him flogged. Things continue to spiral out of control until we find him dragging a heavy rough-hewn cross down the Via Dolorosa, people on all sides either pitying him or vilifying him.
It’s a fickle crowd. A few days earlier he’d been welcomed with “Hosannahs” by the hoi-polloi waving fronds of palm in his face. Now this. He is on his way to be brutally publicly crucified, hung like bad art between two common thugs of the day. And who were they, one wonders? I’ve always been fascinated with the back-story of ancillary characters. Well, let me tell you. One is a Greek called Johnnie Inyourculo, caught buggering the son and the wife of a well-connected local merchant; the other, a petty Stickyfingers named Murray, a village idiot who till now has been tolerated for filching the odd loaf of bread or pear gone by, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Roman aesthetic liked to do things in threes. Symmetry. One crucifixion on the hill draws attention. And this Christ guy has plenty of that already. Two crucifixions on the hill? Hah, better three. Three looks nice, Jesus flanked with wingmen.
So on this “Good” Friday, Jesus is thrashed, bashed, whipped, spat upon, excoriated, denied water, a last cigarette, hammered through the hands and feet, and left to die in the heat. His mother is present, against his advisement. Like a bad car crash, neither can look away. Hardly a Good Friday, in fact, as far from a Good anything as anything can be. Just ask Mel Gibson. He made a documentary snuff film of it.
Now whether the remarkable life, and remarkable death, and even more remarkable resurrection a couple days later ever happened is a matter of personal belief. Folks believe in ghosts and aliens and nuclear deterrence, so who’s to say? I leave it to you.
But one thing is certain. Something happened. Without the aid of the internet, social media, content, hash tags, with only some word-of-mouth buzz, we all know the story and continue to fight wars over it millennia later. Jesus, the man, made an impression and the PR folks did their job.
Ultimately, who cares if it’s true, or not? A good story is a good story. One hopes there’s some accuracy there in the reporting. But like the party game where something is whispered and passed around the room coming out the end nothing at all like the beginning, who can speak to its veracity? I repeat, who cares.
Perhaps the point is that it is a story with some promise to it. An optimism, perhaps misplaced, that the possibility of forgiveness, redemption, rebirth, compassion, all these lovely concepts that are spoken of, but rarely demonstrated, might just be, well… possible. That we might be given a second, third, one thousandth chance. That Spring follows Winter and things are reborn, resurrected, made new. That the Phoenix will rise from the ashes. And so might we.
Consider. The Christ, in anguish, looks down on those that are gambling for his garments, serving him vinegar for water, running him through with sharp objects, and says, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” They are fulfilling a role as surely as he is. Me? If I have super-powers and my dad is God, I’m gonna put on a shit-show like nobody’s ever seen. I’m gonna have some fun with a cosmic ass-kicking, an MMA cage match that nobody evah gonna forget. And you know what? You are, too. Forgiveness? Hunh!
But, not Jesus. He wants to show us what’s possible. He wants to show us Spring. He wants to die for our sins. He’s even offering a get-out-of-jail card to the two miscreants hanging around with him. He says it doesn’t matter. He says whatever sins they own are as nothing if they truly accept love and God, (there’s that sticky word,) in their hearts in the final moments. And He’s doing all this because He’s on a mission to show the rest of us imperfect humans that in His Father’s house there are many mansions, that all things are possible, that these super-powers of feeding the poor, walking on water, (a bit show-offy there,) turning water to wine, (useful,) raising the dead, raising oneself from the dead, you can do it, too, with the power of Love. (That word. As slippery as God.)
Sidebar – My mother, (you’ll be hearing more about her in future, and enough of these parentheticals,) once, in her own version of Italian forgiveness went after my sister, Phyllis, for eating a hot-dog on a Friday, not just any Friday, but Good Friday. A double no-no. They were in the basement, and as my sister ran for her life, my mom whacked her on the shins and ankles, through the spaces between the cellar steps, with a broom, hard enough to draw blood on her heathen lower legs. Just like Jesus. You should thank her, sister. Your own personal stigmata. This from the same woman that could fart in church and tell a joke to make a Teamster blush.
This blogging thing. I’ve threatened it for a while, only now acting upon it. Blog is short for web-log, get it? Weblog – We = blog. Wow. Imagine being so busy that we have to cut off two letters to make more time in the day to do all the important work we have to do. Sheesh.
When cell phones first reared their ugly heads, I remember laughing at some suit standing at an airport urinal, his dick in one hand, hollering into his cell phone in the other. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, he must really be important. (Not!)’ and I vowed never to be that important. Then the other day I caught myself reading on my laptop as I sat on the loo. That’s progress.
Yet, here I am, a Luddite, blogging, a digital diary, a soapbox, a platform, perhaps one day a “monetization” as the SEO raises my QPA contributing to my IRA so I can CPR in the LSD. As if any of this “content / non-content” matters or will contribute to the quality of your, or my, life. So what the heck are you doing? Don’t you have to make dinner, do laundry, watch fake news? Get out of here, go home, make your own life.
Still here, huh? Okay then. This is my second ever blog posting and I’ll make you this promise. I’ll try to be, in turns, serious, thoughtful, playful, and funny. To speak of big things, little things, current events, remembrances. To tell jokes, to lament, maybe share some of my writing, my songs, pretty pictures, a poem. To make you laugh and to make you think. If something strikes you as sharable, by all means, go ahead, share away, with my blessing. But give me credit, don’t try to pretend you’re as smart as I am. I don’t do Facebook, and neither should you. It’s one of many idle devils wasting precious chi. But this blogging thing? Let’s try it, it might be fun. Feel free to write me back. Use capitals and punctuation. Check the spelling. Make me laugh, cry, think. Let’s do what we can to salvage language and thought and civilized discourse.
And for the record, ‘Jesus is just all right with me’ and the Doobie Brothers. He’s the Guy I know. Was He the Son of God? I dunno, maybe no more than you and I are, which might be the point. I’ve always thought I’d enjoy having a beer with him, except I don’t like beer. We’re all Gods and Goddesses, Koo-koo-cachoo. Buddha works, too. So does Papa Rum Raisin. So do you. Pick one or more from Column A through Z. But I can’t find anything wrong or bad in what the dude had to say. It all stands up. Love. Practice the Golden Rule. No swami, or guru, or president has shown me anything better.
May all your Fridays be Good Fridays. Go in peace, the blog has ended.
Good Friday, March 30, 2018