April 4, 2010
It would be hard to ask for a nicer day on which to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It was warm and sunny, and not nearly as windy as it was yesterday. The kids in church this morning could barely contain themselves, eagerly anticipating the Easter egg hunt to follow the service. But what in the world does one have to do with the other??
These days, it seems that most major Christian holidays are observed by calling attention to the pagan festivals from which the key symbols are derived. Some people see this as a bad thing. According to the Emmanuel Episcopal Church bulletin, Easter is derived from the Celtic rite in honor of the goddess Eostre, who restored life every spring. Her icon was the rabbit, the egg was a basic fertility symbol, and after a little syncretic adoption of "outward and visible signs," Celtic Christianity was born. The rest is history.
Speaking of "syncretic blending," the tolerant approach of Catholic missionaries in Latin America (in ironic contrast to the brute force approach of the conquistadors themselves) led to a confused state of religious affairs. Gods worshipped by the Inca Indians became semi-official local saints, and are venerated by millions even to this day. It's a recipe for theological incoherence. Add to that the conventional "hemispherist" incorporation into Easter of the pagan bunny and egg symbols, which is totally inappropriate for those folks who are living south of the equator. For them, it's the beginning of autumn, not spring! No wonder there is so much confusion down there...
Anyway, I went for a drive to take some pictures and watch birds this afternoon:
Yesterday the Red Cross held a blood drive at the Staunton Library (in the bloodmobile outside), and in spite of extreme tiredness, I managed to arrive only a little late for my appointment. This time, the whole procedure went very smoothly. That's not always the case, however, and blood donors must endure serious discomfort, or even fainting, from time to time. But it's a small price to pay for saving human lives, and as my friend Mattew Poteat pointed out on Facebook, there can be health benefits from donating blood.
Later it occurred to me that there is an ironic connection between Celtic Christianity (see above) and my blood donation: the tragic conflict in Northern Ireland memorialized in the U2 song, "Sunday, Bloody Sunday."