Sunday, March 27, 2005
kill the wabbit... bash the bunny... expose the easter bunny... it's all the same thing to me *lol*
Me, I always look at the origin of things to locate the source of any misunderstanding, apprehension or plain old discomfort! I guess it's just me...!
Whereas the French word for Easter (Pâques) originates from the Jewish Passover... Anglo-Saxons have the misfortune of owing their precious "Easter" to... a bunny-morphing, fertility-sponsoring Fairy Queen of sorts... That is, THE NAME comes from this rather odd source... but, really, what's in a name?
The name Easter comes from Eastre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess, originally of the dawn. In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor. Some Easter customs have come from this and other pre-Christian spring festivals. Others come from the Passover feast of the Jews, observed in memory of their deliverance from Egypt. The resurrection of Jesus took place during the Passover. In the early days of Christianity Easter and the Passover were closely associated.
Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by emperor Constantine. They issued the Easter Rule which places Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox (first day of Spring). Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 & April 25. This year, it does come very early indeed... though, clearly NOT the earliest it could be!
Preceding Easter Sunday is the 40-day penitential season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding at midnight on Holy Saturday. Lent is a season of prayer, abstinence, and fasting. This is observed in memory of the 40 days' fast of Christ in the desert. Orthodox churches used to advocate 40 days without meat in some countries! Lent is observed for six weeks and four days by the Western Christian churches that include Saturday and Sunday into the total. In Eastern Orthodox churches Lent is 50 days since they do not count Saturdays or Sundays.
Shrove Tuesday, the day before the beginning of Lent, was designed as a way to "get it all out" before the sacrifices of Lent began. Known the world over as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Carnival. It is celebrated in many cities, the most famous American city being New Orleans, LA.
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, gets its name from the practice, mainly in the Roman Catholic church, of putting ashes on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them that man is but dust.
The actual Holy Week goes as follows:
Palm Sunday: This is held on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. It recalls Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem one week before his execution.
Holy Monday: commemorates Jesus' cleansing of the temple, when he assaulted money changers and overturned their tables. Some believe that this triggered his arrest and crucifixion. (A violent Jesus is soooooo much like the Jesus of the Book of Revelation - sword in hand! I like that - a whole lot! ;)
Holy Tuesday: recalls Jesus' description to his disciples on the Mount of Olives of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Holy Wednesday: (once called Spy Wednesday) recalls Judas' decision to betray Jesus in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. (Mel Gibson and others believe Judas is the MOST FAITHFUL OF ALL OF JESUS' DISCIPLES - for he somehow understood, even before, say, Nicodemus, and certainly all eleven other disciples left, WHY CHRIST HAD TO DIE ON THE CROSS... to give us all a chance to be FORGIVEN! I think Mel Gibson's favorite expression is also "with friends like these..." *LOL*).
Maundy Thursday: commemorates the Last Supper, Jesus' agony in the garden and his arrest. (Maundy - yes... the name actually describes the foot-washing ceremony).
Good Friday: recalls Jesus' death on the cross. The origin of the word "good" has been lost. Some claim that it is a corruption of "God" and that the early Christians called this day "God's Friday." Others claim that "good" refers to the blessings of humanity that Christians believe arose as a result of Jesus' execution.
Holy Saturday: (a.k.a. Easter Eve) is the final day of Holy Week and of Lent.
Easter Sunday: commemorates Jesus' resurrection. In the early church, converts were baptized into church membership on this day after a lengthy period of instruction. This tradition continues today in some churches. Today, HE HAS RISEN! ALELUIA!
Many Easter symbols and customs come from the Old World though - unfortunately. And some have nothing to do with Christ...
The Cross though, obviously does - the Cross is the symbol of the Crucifixion, as opposed to the Resurrection. However, at the Council of Nicaea, in A.D. 325, Constantine decreed that the Cross was the official symbol of Christianity. The Cross is not only a symbol of Easter, but it is more widely used, especially by the Catholic Church, as a year-round symbol of their faith. AND one could say A SYMBOL OF THE SACRIFICE AND LOVE OF GOD FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF HIS CHILDREN... whether they embrace the Cross (as their own cross as well) or not...
The white lily symbolizes the Resurrection. Yet, lillies have long been revered by pagans of various lands as a holy symbol associated with reproduction. It was considered a phallic symbol!
The Easter Bunny also originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.
The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War.
Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.
The Easter Egg though goes waaaay back to that old world mentality that I qualified as... a tad unfortunate? *LOL*
The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians. The egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.
Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs -- plastic eggs filled with chocolate candy.
The English and German words for "Easter" derive from the name "Ostara," (variant spellings: Eostra, Eostrae, Eostre, Eástre, Austra.) the Germanic Goddess of Springtime. (or... the moon. Or... fertility... or... likely a dozen other things, surely...). All other European words for "Easter" derive from the Hebrew word "pasah," to pass over, thus reflecting the Christian holiday's Biblical connection with the Jewish Passover.
As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The belief was, eons ago, that the "young Sun God" now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the "young Maiden Goddess", who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals. (The original baby boom... eh?). *LOL*
The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon "Lunar Goddess of fertility" (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit. Wow - legitimate egg-laying claims for the odd critter known as the easter bunny... RIGHT. *LOL*).
The Christian religion adopted these emblems for Easter which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, in the hopes of REELING IN THE ATTENTION OF UNBELIEVERS towards the SALVATION offered by CHRIST's Sacrifice. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 - Old Lady Day, the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time. Neo-pagans see this pre-dating as "exposing" Mary... not at all, my pagan friends - not at all! JESUS WAS BORN - it is FACT. He Walked the Earth, lo 2000 years ago... so, He surely had to have a MOTHER... eh? Who cares if Eostre was reputed to have conceived on that date too, in some ancient fairytale... and who really cares about Venus/Aphrodite as well! Mary was flesh and blood - I have yet to see any evidence that Eostre/Ostara/Austra OR Venus/Aphrodite ever were...!
But now, back to the bunny-bashing...
Apparently I am not the only who hates the damn "easter bunny"... (lest it is some kid who mistook it for Donnie Darko's ghastly imaginary friend - which I sincerely doubt even remotely possible!)
Easter Bunny claims he was assaulted by 12-year-old boy at Michigan mall
25/03/2005 12:36:00 PM BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - The Easter Bunny is hopping mad.
Bryan Johnson, who portrays the furry character at the Bay City Mall, says he was pummelled in an unprovoked attack while on the job. Police say the attacker was a 12-year-old boy who sat on Johnson's lap the day before the March 18 incident.
Johnson, 18, suffered a bloody nose. He kept his cool during the attack, deeming it inappropriate for the Easter Bunny to fight back. But he's not willing to forgive and forget.
"They (the sheriff's deputies) told me it was up to me, and I feel that the boy should be prosecuted," Johnson told the Bay City Times.
Johnson told Bay County Sheriff's deputies that the boy hit him in the face at least six times before running away.
Bay County Sheriff John Miller said the youth has been in trouble in the past. The case will be forwarded to the Bay County prosecutor's office next week for action, he said.
Johnson, meanwhile, is back on the job at the mall, where he had been working as the Easter Bunny for about a week before the attack. He says he took the job to help support his girlfriend and three-month-old daughter.
"I just like getting the kids to laugh and have fun," he said
Funny stuff - I figured the bunny was easy pickings too.
As a kid, I always knew that either Yosemite Sam or even the lame-o Elmer Fudd could have easily have taken out Bugs, if only the Looney Tunes had been... oh, I don't know... REALISTIC? *LOL*
Happy Easter - belatedly, surely - f-f-f-f-f-folks...!!!
CHOCOLATE BUNNY bashing...
Experts warn against overindulging in chocolate
CTV.ca News Staff
Canadians munching on chocolate bunnies might feel justified by new studies touting the confection's health benefits, but some fear that logic may be somewhat sugar-coated.
A study published in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that a group of men in Italy who ate 100 grams of dark chocolate every day for two weeks actually saw their blood pressure drop.
According to researchers, cocoa beans contain flavonoids, a compound believed to lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
While some took the study as permission to chow down, beware the fine print.
Creamy milk chocolate, for instance is made in a process that destroys much of cocoa's healthful compounds.
Not to mention most milk chocolates are rich with sugar and fat.
So, in terms of sweet treats, it's really the more bitter dark chocolate that counts -- as the darker the chocolate, the higher the flavonoid content.
But a McGill doctor with some expertise on the pros and cons of chocolate warns Canadians not to confuse the sweet with health food.
"It's not something we can dismiss out of hand, but I also don't want to suggest that chocolate is miraculous in terms of providing anti-oxidants," Dr. Joe Schwarcz told CTV News.
In fact, Joe Schwarcz says, you can get all the flavanol you need from other elements of a healthy diet such as tea and vegetables.
Scientists cautions have done little to stop the world's biggest chocolate-makers from seizing on a chance to fund and hype research into the benefits of their products.
At Mars Inc., for example, they're even trying to incorporate what's been learned into a new cocoa-based snack bar that has all the flavanol, but none of the sugar and fat.
"The scientific community is sitting back and saying, 'There's a reason they called it the food of the Gods', and maybe this is why," Mars' Harold Schmitz said.
Whatever the reason, it seems Canadians are choosing more dark chocolate, more often. Montreal chocolatier Martine Fiquet, for example, estimates sales of dark chocolate have quadrupled in recent years.
After Halloween and Christmas, Canadians buy more chocolate at Easter than any other time of the year.
With that in mind, not to mention the health risks posed by overeating and obesity, experts are reminding those who choose to indulge to do so in moderation.
With a report from CTV's Jed Kahane in Montreal
"I know this is a little late, but I just got it and wanted to share
it anyway. Its long, but informative. Actually, It might be more informative if we knew who the author was - lol"
"FATHER, UNTO THY HANDS I COMMEND THEE MY SPIRIT"
A PHYSICIAN LOOKS AT JESUS’ DEATH
Following the last supper, Jesus retired across the Kidron Valley to
the Garden of Gethsemene. As He entered the garden, He withdrew from His disciples to pray. This was probably the most traumatic
experience Jesus faced during the next l2 to l8 hours. Who could
possibly measure the anguish that Jesus experienced as he submitted
His will to that of the Father--as He anticipated His separation from
the Father when He would bear the sin of the world?
This night--begun as a sleepless one--would be marked by an extreme
spiritual struggle:”And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the
ground,” Luke says (22:44). This bloody sweat is known medically as
hematidrosis, and in the gospel narratives is mentioned only by the
physician Luke. We are indeed indebted to the astute observation of this medical doctor. This phenomenon has been documented on other rare occasions among persons undergoing extreme psychological or
physiological stress. It is caused by tiny capillaries under the skin
surface distending and ultimately going into arterial spasm with
necroses, and rupturing into the sweat glands. This results in a
bloody secretion--blood mixed with sweat--exuding through the pores
of the skin. The loss of this bloody, sweaty mixture would create
profound dehydration and early stages of shock.
Unless you reflect on this point, it is easy to overlook the fact
that an angel appeared to Jesus to strengthen Him. Certainly the
intercessory ministry of this angel empowered our Lord to sustain the brutal trauma which was yet to occur.
After the battle with His will, Jesus looked across the night sky
toward Jerusalem and saw the torches illuminating the rolling
hillside. He could clearly identify the soldiers, high priests, some members of the Sanhedrin, and his own disciple, Judas, leading the mob to arrest Him. Preliminary collusion with Judas, and the cleverness of Caiaphas was manifested in the nighttime arrest of Jesus. They evidently feared a rebellion of the people if they attempted to take Jesus openly.
Not only had the conspirators judged the trial before the arrest,
they literally participated in the actual arrest of Jesus in the
Garden of Gethsemene, Jesus was then taken to the high priest’s house at night and under clandestine circumstances---a gross violation of Jewish jurisprudence. In addition, according to Mosaic law, no trial
was to take place on the eve of the Sabbath or holiday or on a
holiday itself. All four Gospels indicate that this was on the eve of the Sabbath, and more than that, on the eve of the Passover.
The first trial occurred sometime after midnight and was concluded
before 3:00 a.m. The Gospels record that Jesus was led away with His hands bound--the same hands that had healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, and raised the dead. But this was only the beginning of the indignities to which Jesus would be subjected. Before Annas, Jesus was directly cross-examined in contradiction to the Jewish law.
The Sanhedrin and Council were not allowed to apply duress and
pressure during a trial, and frank confessions were not accepted by
Jewish law. The law itself required two witnesses to bring
accusations, but Jesus was being directly intimidated and cross-
examined before Annas, In fact, one of the officers of the high
priest accompanying Jesus struck him with his hand because of the
manner of Jesus’ reply to Annas.
In Luke 22:63,64, we are told that the man holding Jesus mocked Him,
beat Him, blindfolded Him, and asked Him to prophesy. The same Jesus who had performed so many miracles and who had been so willing to gather these in His arms, now sustains the indignity of their mockery and ridicule before being led away to Caiaphas and the full Sanhedrin.
During the course of this second trial, even the charges against
Jesus were changed because of the inability of the false witnesses to
agree in their testimony. In modern terminology, Jesus was tried for an alleged plot to desecrate a national shrine (He had claimed to be able to tear down the temple and rebuild it within three days).
Caiaphas as the high priest now took an active role in the
interrogation of Jesus. He commanded Jesus by the living God to speak. By Jewish tradition, this was a compelling oath which a
suspect could not refuse. When all else failed, Caiaphas demanded a
complete confession. Following the testimony, he rent his clothing.This Middle East custom depicted great emotion and
undoubtedly prejudiced and influenced the other members of the
The trial was so prejudiced, it was beyond any consideration of
mercy. Jesus then was taken before Pilate early in the morning. While
being very liberal concerning the trial by their own Jewish law, the
accusers now resume their legalistic stance by not entering the Roman courtyard and thereby defiling themselves on the eve of the Passover. This indicates their extreme concern over the minutia of the law versus the more important weightier matters, just as Jesus had accused them.
As we see Jesus now, He’s exhausted from lack of sleep, the two preceding interrogations, abuse, dehydration and ridicule. Yet he stands before this Roman governor with supernatural power. His compassionate, soul-searching countenance is bowed in humility. No reviling or bitterness comes from His parched, swollen lips. Indeed, He makes no self-defense at all.
Now Pilate, in an attempt to appease the mob, has Jesus scourged. This was not ordinarily part of a crucifixion. And there was a difference between Jewish and Roman law in regard to it. Under Jewish law, scourging was limited to 40 lashes. The Jews were so intent that the law be upheld, the beating often was stopped at 39 lashes to be
sure that a miscount had not taken place. Roman law knew no such
limitations. The prisoner was beaten to the verge of death as
measured by a rapidly increasing, thready pulse and/or a shallow,
irregular respiratory rate.
Wooden-handled leather whips with three strands were most frequently
used. Each strand had a small piece of bone or metal attached to the end which would chip and gouge out pieces of bone and tissue with
each lash as it was withdrawn sharply backwards to the readied
position. The prisoner was tied across an object that would support
his weight after he had lost consciousness. This position also
provided easy access to areas of the legs, arms, thighs, and upper
chest. Such an atrocity stripped the skin into long, ribbon-like
segments, causing profuse arterial bleeding.
The crown of thorns, in the form of a circlet, now was pressed deeply into His scalp by the soldiers. This resulted in additional arterial bleeding which added to the extreme reduction and contraction of His total vascular space, thereby deepening His state of shock.
A purple robe was then thrown across Jesus’ shoulders and back. It perhaps acted as a temporary compressive dressing, helping to congeal some of the blood pouring from the gaping lesions across His thorax, abdomen and legs. The gospel narratives continue the description of the atrocity, including the mockery by the soldiers, Jesus being spat
upon, beaten with reeds, ridiculed, and hailed as the “King of the Jews.”
Isaiah 50:6, a Messianic passage, states, “I gave my back to the
smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. I hid my
face from shame and spitting.” Anyone who has had any hair pulled from his face or eyebrows knows the pain and resultant swelling.
Then Jesus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple
robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man,” John records
(l9:5). As Jesus stood before the howling mob, no doubt He
experienced the clammy, lifeless sensation of advanced shock.
Medically, Jesus would demonstrate cold, pale sweaty skin. The mucous
membranes would be bluish and cyanotic and His countenance would be haggard and drawn. His reflexes would be depressed, His pulse
pounding, His respiration shallow and barely perceptible. His
physical strength would be at the point of prostration at best.
Pilate now succumbs to the manipulation by Jewish leaders, and Jesus is condemned to death by crucifixion. The purple robe is stripped away and Jesus is given the cross to bear to the place of the skull, Golgotha. The rough removal of His garments would be similar to the careless removal of a surgical dressing, causing the wounds to bleed freely once more.
Atonement throughout the Old Testament, beginning in the Garden of Eden where God made skins to cover Adam and Eve following their sin, required the sacrifice of blood to provide the covering. Blood atonement reoccurred as the theme through the temple worship. And now in Jesus we have the profuse loss of blood as the atonement for our sins.
It is interesting that the gospel writers simply indicate that Jesus
was taken to the place of the skull and there crucified. We are left with no further information other than that which can be deduced from the writings of Roman and Jewish historians. This was such a common practice that no elaboration was necessary.
This act, originally practiced by the Phoenicians, was perfected and
embellished by the Romans. It was known in the Palestinian area from
approximately 200 B.C. until 300 A.D. when it was abolished by
Many of the crosses of Jesus’ day were shaped like the Greek letter
Tau. The upright post, the stipes, was permanently fixed in the
ground at the execution site, and the transverse beam, carried by the
condemned, would be joined to the stipes by a mortise joint which
locked into a self-retaining position. This expedited the work of the executioner. The transverse beam weighed as much as l00 pounds. So if Jesus carried only that portion of the cross, or an entire cross, it is no wonder that he fell.
As Jesus arrived at the execution site, the beam or cross was thrown
upon the ground and Jesus was roughly thrown backwards onto it. His arms were extended to a pre-selected position. The executioners would be careful not to draw his arms to a fully extended position, for that would hasten His death.
Large triangular construction-grade nails then would be used to
secure Jesus to the cross. The Bible states that these were driven
through His hands. Many authorities believe that they were driven through the lower portion of his forearm near the wrist. There they would compress the median nerve trunks to the hand. These nerve trunks then would impinge on the tendons of the palm causing the thumbs to bend toward the palm.
It is interesting to note the Latin word for hand, manus, also is
used by such early writers as Virgil and Josephus to designate the part of the wrist which joins the hand. If, indeed, the nails were driven through His hands, as the Bible says, it is not clear how this kept Him suspended, for a nail through the center palm would tear through it.
Next, with the nails in place, Jesus would be literally hoisted
upright. His feet would be secured with a single nail--the left foot
extended slightly over the right with the knees flexed, and the nail
driven through the arches of the feet.
The Romans had perfected this brutal art to where the length of time required for the condemned person to die could be computed by how much flexion was left in the knees to expedite breathing. His
position on the cross forced a condemned person into a horribly cruel exercise. In order to breathe and to relieve the pain in the arms as the body sagged downward, he would have to push up on the nail in the feet forcing an up and down slithering motion upon the cross until he expired.
Dangling by the arms in this position would result in severe muscular pain in the upper extremities. It also would cause a progressive pain from joint separation. Continual hanging by the arms would gradually result in paralyzation of the intercostal muscles of the thoracic wall. As a result, air could be drawn into the lungs easily but could
not be exhaled. As carbon dioxide accumulated, progressive degrees of
asphyxiation would occur. Accumulated carbon dioxide and lactic acid would create an intense muscular hyperexcitability and violent tetanic muscle spasm throughout the body.
As the suffering sensation became overwhelming, the condemned man
would be compelled to push up on the nail in his feet to gasp for
breath. It is undoubtedly in this position that Jesus uttered His
famous seven last words. It is indeed amazing, as Jesus’ physical
body was ravaged by shock, exhaustion, incredible thirst, central nervous system pain, stimulation beyond our comprehension, and gradual asphyxiation, that no reviling or words of condemnation were
uttered by Him. Rather, He expressed concern for those about Him.
As the crucifixion continued, the chest wall would further elongate
and become grossly distorted. The stomach area would sink. The
altered hemodynamics of the thoracic cavity would result in a
progressive effusion of fluid into the pericardial sack, creating a
searing, sharp, pleuritic type pain with each heartbeat and each
attempted movement on the cross.
These events are accurately depicted in Psalm 22, which was written hundreds of years before crucifixion was ever practiced: “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head...I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My
strength is dried up like a potshard; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me; the assemble of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell (count) all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”
Jesus was placed upon the cross at about the sixth hour. The
crucifixion lasted at least through the ninth hour when the darkness fell upon the land. Therefore, by inference, it was approximately six hours before Jesus released his spirit.
Because it was the eve of the preparation for the Passover, the Jews had asked that the bodies be removed from the crosses. So the
soldiers came to break the legs of the prisoners, to hasten their
death. But when they came to Jesus, they found that he already was dead, so as John says (l9:33), “ they brake not his legs...for these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken” (Psalm 34:20).
In death, Jesus was numbered with the transgressors, yet provided a
rich man’s burial. (This, too, was prophesied in the Old Testament:
Isaiah 53:9). So Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, whose lives had been touched by Jesus, tenderly provided for the funeral arrangements in a near-by tomb.
The garden tomb area of the old city has a beautiful representative
tomb carved out of solid rock which fits the Protestant tradition. One of the most moving experiences during a trip to the Holy Land occurs as you walk into the empty inner chamber. There the guide points out that other believers would say that the burial occurred in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or over here, or over there. But the exact place is not really important, he says. Whatever tomb contained the body of our Lord Jesus, it is empty. What a dramatic testimony to the power of our risen Lord Jesus Christ.
We need to keep considering Calvary, and the blood that was spilled as payment in full for our sins. We need also to remember the empty tomb and the testimony of hundreds of witnesses who saw Jesus
physically following His resurrection. Then we need to answer the same haunting question that Pilate faced, “What shall I do with this man called Jesus?”
~ Author Unknown
Aye - and it is a sad thing that many in this day and God-less age do not find a single thing to do with the man called Jesus... and do not even appreciate His sacrifice...