Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts

Monday, April 25, 2011

Extreme Worship!

So I came across this news article on Msnbc about Filipinos who willingly surrendered to crucifixion on Good Friday as an act of piety/penance or whatever medieval reason their mind came up with.
“The most number of crucifixions were staged beside a ricefield in Pampanga's San Pedro Cutud village, where 15 men were nailed to crosses three at a time on a dusty mound as more than 30,000 people, including three European ambassadors, watched and snapped pictures”.

One of the guys said he’s been doing it every year since 1985. Yep, you counted right - 25 crucifixions!!

I don’t even know what to think.
There I was uncomfortable with my walk for Christ (okay not uncomfortable let’s say shy) and here are men going to extremes.
What can I say??….At the risk of sounding like a snobbish western all I could think was “where poverty and under-development is found, there is found violent fanaticism be it to self or to others. See Palestine, Bauchi, Jos, Congo, Mexico.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Easter Diary


Hey Blog fam,


Its been a busy week. I got caught up with preparing for Easter the Catholic way - Holy Thursday, Good Friday etc etc.
Let me confess, my lent didnt get off to a good start. I couldnt make up my mind what to give up that was worthy. Fasting didnt seem much of  a sacrifice cause my eating was sketchy anyways. I gave up facebooking for about two weeks then jumped back again. Not like I was updating my status but just to keep in touch. Maybe I could have given up blogging, but that would have made for a friendless Lenten Season. I mean its online but you guys mean a lot to me. Yes you do. Our little conversations and lols make my day and keep me going when i don't have credit to talk to real life friends.
Well, a little recap on the last 4 days of lenten journey...

Wednesday - I woke up today and realised that If  I didnt have a confession between today and Saturday then I would be unable to receive communion this Easter. I have been running away from confession, not that I didnt believe in it but..outta shame. I was looking for any other parish except St Cuthbert's so I wouldnt have to talk to Fr. Tony, our parish priest. Anyway by Wednesday I knew I had run out of time. I didnt know the schedule of other parishes. I was stuck with Fr Tony. And worse, cause there was no scheduled confession, I had to book an appointment. urgh!! I spent the day dillydallying. Night passed, morning came.
Holy Thursday - We remember the last supper. 
It was now or never. I sent him an email. Dear Fr Tony, do you have time to spare for a confession for this poor catholic soul? I didnt wait for a reply cause I had work.
About 5.45 in the evening while i was stuck at the bus stop waiting for the never coming 24 bus, I checked my mail on my phone. I had  a reply, he said yes, he will meet me after Mass in the evening, he also asked that would I be willing to be one of the 12 people (disciples) that he would wash their feet during Mass. I blanched. My feet have got corns, bunions, chipped nail paint and I've been in trainers all day. No way San Jose (Now I understand how Peter felt when he refused to let Jesus wash his feet). 
I had an excuse anyways. I was an hr away from Durham. And with the late Bus, it looked like i was gonna be late for Mass which was at 7pm. So I apologised and said No. (Saved!!).
I got to the Mass late but was in time for the washing of feet. I happily watched him wash other feet. I had the confession after Mass and later I wondered why I thought I should dodge him. He is but a priest. He is not there to judge. More like a spiritual director. Talk to you about the problems you have that keep you from serving God fully. I spent some time after in the Church for the Watch (remember how the disciples prayed and waited with Jesus). Night passed, Morning came.
Good Friday - We remember Jesus Crucifixion and death. On the bulletin, there was a notice about a witness walk which was going to be inter-denominational. I didnt really know what that meant. In Nigeria we would have had a general Stations of the Cross, but I thought to join nonetheless, after all, I was in great terms with God again and wanted to bear witness. 
We met at St Nicholas (an Anglican church), About a 100 people. There were paintings depicting the cricifixion which some people volunteered to carry, also posters announcing that this was Good Friday (you know some people dont know the reason for the Bank Holiday?!). Someone carried a cross. We then proceeded from the church in pairs and walked around the high street and sundry called the 'Market place". I must admit that I was uncomfortable. You see, in Nigeria, people happily wear their christianity like an honorary badge. Nothing is strange under the guise of Christianity. But here, we were getting stares from people who were acting like we were some weird fanatics. Well, I returned their stares with a sweet smile and happily sang along with others....
I attempted to take pictures but felt silly; really, I shouldnt be acting like a tourist.
Good Friday mass started at 3pm. The church interior had been stripped of every decoration. It felt so bare and dark. No flowers, no color. We were in mourning. Night passed Morning Came.
Holy Saturday - Jesus lies in the tomb. Today's activities started at 9pm in the night. The church lights were off, cause we were still in the darkness of the tomb. So we held lit candles instead. It was beautiful mind you, but it made me wonder how the world would have been without electricity, Thank you Graham Bell! 
The readings started from Genesis about the Creation, to Abraham being called to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. *In the light of how aghast I am at the homicides commited nowadays, I can now understand why Abraham's faith is reverred. Think that Isaac was old enough to know his Father wanted to kill him. Remember him asking his Father "Where the lamb for the sacrifice was?". Do you think he lay there and said "Father go ahead and kill me, it is the Lord's will?" Nope, I am sure he was screaming bl$*dy murder! Father, what did I do wrong"! And Abraham, how he must have felt?*
Anyway, we also heard how God delivered Isrealites from Pharoah, followed by a reading about the promise of a Saviour in Isaiah. Then the bells started to ring....It wasnt yet midnight but in these days of security and what not, who keeps to that. The lights came on. He has risen. We blew off our candles then read the New testament readings about Mary and Martha finding the Angel at the empty tomb where Jesus had been laid. What Joy, what awe must have filled their hearts. Anyway Mass proper had now started. There were new members - A lady was getting baptised, 4 young men were being received (they were from other denominations but now wished to be catholic) and confirmed in the faith. I cant tell you how pleased this made me. In fact they inspired me. Cause i was all for saying Christianity was dying if not dead in Britain. Maybe it is, but for those five (just like Abraham arguing the case for the kingdom of Sodom with God), I am ready to change my mind. After Mass, we were invited to the parish room for refreshments -Champagne, juice, Easter eggs, cakes, doughnuts, chocolate, crisps, sausage rolls. I met up with my elderly gentleman friend, Dr. George (he should be in his mid seventies), Taz, Chris, Nidani and heartily congratulated the new members. Fr Tony passed by and hailed me by name (Ha! Its taken him 6 months). 
Easter Vigil mass was beautiful. Night passed, morning came.
Easter Sunday - We remember Christ's resurrection. 

Happy Easter Everyone. May the Joy of the risen Christ never depart from you!

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