I’m trying to recall the last time I did something even moderately religious on Good Friday – and I can’t.
Does that make me feel ashamed? Not in the slightest because I’m an atheist – I don’t believe in anyone’s god.
With that in mind, however, if the government decreed that church services could be conducted this Easter, I’d just about show up, for no other reason than to savour some social interaction.
I’d stand in the back of the church where nobody could see me remaining mute through prayers.
I might sing the hymns, as I know most of the words, because I was raised in a Methodist family and attended church and Sunday school every weekend into my early teens.
On the way out of church, I might stop and ask the minister a question, like: “Luke and John say there were two angels at the tomb of Jesus after the Resurrection, but Matthew says he saw just one. It was the one who rolled the rock away from the supposedly well-protected cave.
“How can there be such a contradiction?” I’d ask the minister. I mean, angels are something that would surely get your undivided attention, especially ones that can roll massive rocks.
I wouldn’t be too interested in his answer, because how could he possibly know? And, when you get down to it, does it really matter who saw what?
The Bible is not a literal work. You take from it what you need and, at this point in my life, I don’t need any of it.
Another month or two in isolation, and who knows.
So I won’t miss not being able to attend church this Easter, but I will miss our annual family Easter egg hunt.
Since my kids could walk, we’d hide eggs all over the garden. And every year, there would be at least one egg unaccounted for.
Sometimes the dog was to blame – the empty foil was a giveaway – sometimes the ‘hider’ simply forgot where she put them all. For days and weeks after, the children would search for those missing eggs – and perhaps never find them.
Anyway, the kids now have kids, so my wife and I still usually hide eggs – high and low, inside and out.
At the sound of a whistle, off go the grandkids and their parents, and God help anybody who gets in the way. Fur flies, elbows scythe through the air.
If you’ve ever read Banjo Patterson’s The Geebung Polo Club, where all the players are killed and spectators get injured, you can imagine our family egg hunt.
When all eggs, except one or two, are found, they are evenly divided and everybody goes home happy, leaving my wife and I to continue the search for the missing items.
So, this year we’re going to have to find a way to have an online egg hunt. I haven’t got my head around that yet. Fortunately, I’ve got plenty of time to think about it.
And perhaps I’ll further examine Good Friday and seek an answer to the long-asked question: “What was good about it?”
Jesus carried a cross, had stones thrown at him, was nailed to it, hung up and eventually died. Did he think it was ‘good’?
You can’t imagine that he did, because he would have had no idea that so many millions of people, in the years to come, would see his death with such significance.
And masses are in no doubt that the resurrection really happened.
In a Gallup Poll, taken in America in 1978, two thirds of those who answered ticked “absolutely certain” when asked whether Jesus rose from the dead.
Many Indians believe Jesus lived in their country during his missing years between the ages of 12 and 30 and returned there after his Resurrection, eventually dying of old age in Srinagar.
I’ve been to Srinagar and I don’t recall any great monuments to Jesus, so I can only assume he lived out his remaining years in quiet retirement.
So, believe whatever part of the whole story you want, and if it gives you strength, then good luck to you.
Maybe one day I’ll write a book and call it The Perkin Family Egg Hunts, and perhaps it will challenge the Bible for its significance.
Don’t laugh, because it will in my world.
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