And it's Easter, so there.
When I first started this blog series, I promised you I would introduce you to the rabbit hole that is my faith, but I wouldn't shove anything down your throat as far as my belief in it. This still holds. I'm going to do a little walkthrough on the story of Easter Sunday. Pretty much it.
As mentioned in my surprisingly popular blog post on Lent, Easter is more of an estimated time, and it's conveniently located at the start of spring. Or, if you live on the East coat of the United States, when spring is supposed to start. It was put in near Passover, and there were a whole bunch of computations put into the matter that I don't pretend to understand.
I want to say it was programmed up against a pagan Roman festival of Ester, though I think I may have had my wires crossed there, if only because the Catholic church did something similar with Christmas, put up against Saturnalia, a pagan feast that involved an orgy of food and drink and other things that happen at orgies -- it's still celebrated as the office Christmas party.
So, when last we left our Deity, He was about six feet under. More accurately, He had been put into a cave, a tomb on loan to him from Joseph of Aramathea -- a wealthy businessman, disciple of Jesus, and he was either unconcerned about sharing a crypt, or he figured he'd only be loaning it out.
Also, someone was intelligent. When Jesus was put into the crypt, one of the Sanhedrin suggested that "Well, this Jesus guy hinted that if we put Him into the ground, He'd come back. Might we suggest a few guards to make certain that none of the groupies steal the body?"
Since politics were, in large part, the reason for putting Him into the ground in the first place [see last week], this seems like a reasonable suggestion. If Fred Phelps ever made a suggestion about coming back from the dead, when he died, I'd want an armed guard just to make sure he'd stay in the ground, one way or another.
Also, while Jesus was getting the heck beaten out of Him, His acquaintances, are, largely, nowhere to be seen. The women in His life are the only ones who moved within swinging distance. His Number Two man has already sworn up down and sideways that "Nope, don't know Him, never saw Him, no idea what you're talking about, bye," thereby setting a standard that church bureaucrats never fail to live up to.
So, the moral of the story thus far is that you can be a good little boy all your life, and still get nailed to a set of 2x4s, while all of your friends pretend you never existed.
Sounds like high school.
So, this God is so wimpy, weak, and pathetic that He gets publicly humiliated, whipped, beaten, and publicly executed next to the Hekyll and Jekyll of death row, and His backup are rejects from the Keystone Kops.
Let's say that it's about thirty-six hours after the 2x4s when the story gets interesting. Mainly because the Twelve apostles are (1) down to Eleven and (2) are busy hiding in their hotel room, hoping that they don't find themselves in a similar position to the guy they'd been hanging out with for the previous three years.
Maybe they didn't think the crypt had seating for twelve.
So, the Roman soldiers are on guard at the tomb, like most guards, are bored out of their mind. They don't fall asleep, because Roman soldiers are, more or less, the equivalent of marines, only the penalties for slacking off on duty are tougher. Much tougher.
And then ... why did the earth just move, and why is the tomb now empty?
I don't need to be a mind reader, a psychic, or posess any measure of ESP to telling you exactly what went through the minds of those soldiers at that moment.
"No es in profundus feces."
Or, in English: "Oh darn. We're in trouble."
Hmm, now what? These Romans, who have been shipped to the back end of the Empire, have no interest in taking any more abuse from the locals, and really didn't want to be parked in front of a grave all night long in the first place, probably pondered their options. They could either (A) go to their nearest Centurion (Sergeant), and get the heck kicked out of them, or, (B) "You know, those old Jewish guys wanted the dead guy watched. Maybe they can come up with something." The story goes that the Sanhedrin came up with something perfectly reasonable -- "Just say you fell asleep, the body was stolen, and here's monetary compensation. Since, let's face it, if you say that the guy just vanished from the crypt, well, what's Latin for 'funny farm'? Yes you'll get a beatdown, but this should make it worth your while."
A few hours later, after dawn, two of Jesus' closest female associates come up to the tomb and find it empty.
Their first thought: "They stole Jesus! Those bastards!"
Soon after, Jesus pops up again. "Yes, I was dead, but I'm feeling much better."
In theory, it could have been mass hysteria and people seeing things ... but no one ever hallucinates the same thing when there's mass hysteria.
Also, I'm trying to imagine those eleven boneheads called the apostles sitting in a room. Their dead friend came in, walked through the wall, had an extended chat with them, and ... they never compared notes on what just happened? Not impossible; the apostles were never a brain trust, but I think something like that would make most people take a step back, reevaluate their sanity, and compare notes....
And, of course, someone could have stolen the body ... why they would have stolen the body would make sense if I could believe any of the original bozos as having the potential to be Fred Phelps in progress. After all, if Jesus didn't pop up of His own accord, it would have been obvious that, nope, no Messiah here. They would KNOW that they were part of a fraud, risking their necks for a hoax. So, that would be sort of stupid.
The only reason I can come up with to disappear the body would be as part of as a massive power play ... Considering all of the candidates for such a conspiracy ended up being crucified, fed to the lions, and having been immortalized in the Bible as not being the brightest lights in the night sky, I'm thinking .... no. After all, the apostle Peter turned out to be the leader of this ragtag bunch of fishermen and ex-thieves. His nickname translated as "The Rock," or "Rocky," or, perhaps most accurately, "Rockhead." He ended up being crucified himself.
Welcome to the moral of Easter: you have Heaven and Glory ... though you're still going to have to go through a Good Friday of your own, even if it's only death.
Narrative-wise, the Easter story makes sense. The story is now back when the Bible begins. As we see in Genesis, the point is ..... People Are Stupid ("I tell you don't eat the apples, was that so hard?"). And that the God of Abraham does not come in a show of force. He comes in a gentle breeze. He doesn't pick an empire and adopt it, but a bunch of nomads and farmers. He picks a stuttering nervous wreck found floating on the Nile. He picks the smallest and weakest boy of a family of brothers, from the smallest tribe. You have the thing with the 2x4s, and the Twelve morons. And there were more wars for survival fought over the years, it looks like everything AFTER the 2x4s meant a problem once every hundred years or so.
Welcome to the Catholic church. Everywhere you don't want us to be....
What, you thought I was going to end on an uplifting, soulful note? Sorry, wrong blog.
This concludes my Snarky Theology posts. I hope you've enjoyed reading them. I've enjoyed them so much ...
I hope to never do it again. Thank you.
Next week, I will not be doing a blog. I will post a short story. One for Sean A.P. Ryan. Which means there will be blood.
A Pius Man, slipping theology and history in between the gunshots since ... well, whenever I get published.
See you next week.