From the blog of Annie Turner —
We are in the run-up to Easter, and it always makes the hair on the nape of my neck stand up. It is so definitely not fun. I’m one of those people for whom saying even the Stations of the Cross is equivalent to getting a Root Canal done without
Novocain. I just can’t do the suffering part.
It hurts too much.
Part of the problem is that I live in a culture which tries to pretend that suffering does not exist. We are good at complaining, though, as in: this is a very bad hair day; my kid is not toilet-trained yet and I’m going out of my mind; my mother-in-law is interfering in my life; and my car makes this funny crrsshhkkk sound as it goes around a
corner. What is that about?
So signing on to a religion which has a substantial amount of pain at its core is a very radical and scary thing to do. I know that in the end it turns out all right. More than all right. I carry pictures in my head of the people in the upper room that day when the Holy Spirit lit on their heads in tongues of flame. But at this time of the year—with my hatred of pain and my teensy-tiny attention span—I have difficulty seeing beyond the cross to the glorious end.
I have a modest proposal: let’s insert a Scene Selection button into Holy Week. Then I can imagine myself lounging on the sofa, covered in Dorito crumbs, looking at what’s to come, and getting a glimpse of the Via Dolorosa and rearing back in horror.
“Say it ain’t so!” I mutter, pressing the button and re-casting how the lead up to Easter should go.
Jesus comes into Jerusalem on a fine, white charger, all of the red leather trappings gleaming in the hot sun. He is welcomed by the High Priests. He is invited to lie down to supper with the Romans and feted with song and wine and perhaps some very delicious olives sent especially from the country side. There is no betrayal, no scourging, no horrific walk down the Via Dolorosa, and no final ending which we can scarcely bear to witness.
Instead, Jesus hands out boxes of tiny donut holes to his followers, and all is well.
People sign on to his renewal of faith and pledge to follow his way with no complaining. His dear mother, Mary, does not have to suffer with her son but instead hands out cups of strong coffee to their followers, happy that Simeon’s dire
prophecy has not come true. She envisions a tiny stone house with olive vines growing around its edges and Jesus, her son,
growing old and wise along with her.
In my alternate universe there will be no pain, no beating, and no accusations of the innocent. In this universe Pilate will hand out chocolate Easter eggs—having discovered that worshiping chocolate totally works—and his hard, ruthless interior will have disappeared. In this world, nothing difficult will be asked of me, no sacrifices need to be made. I smile in
relief, thinking–This is a religion I can get behind! Coffee, donut holes, chocolate, and an absence of suffering.
Bemused by my happy rewriting of history, I forget there is one small infinitesimal problem, hardly worth mentioning. When I
die there will be a pause, a moment of silence as I come to the startling realization–there is also no resurrection.