When I was young, my parents were devout Catholics and I spent many hours in many different Catholic churches. I admired their beauty and the sight of stained glass and the smell of incense in the swinging and smoldering bronze censure, it filled the rafters with it's exotic scent. It led you to great feelings and spiritual moments.
Some of the most amazing moments of my devotion there, were the High Holy Days of Lent. In particular, Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
Holy Thursday celebrates Jesus and his disciples sharing Passover together. Eating, drinking and praying and being grateful for life. It was also his "Last Supper" and where Holy Communion comes from. He symbolically charged the wine as a remembrance of his blood or his life and work...and charged the bread as his body. He wanted those there, and maybe those to come to remember him when they ate and drank and to not forget during their daily times about this moment.The moment is to be APPRECIATIVE of each other. Yes, there may be those that sit at our table that have betrayed us....or will betray us and these are Judas's and Peter's roles to remind us.
While they do love you, they have issues of their own and are always trying to be good, but failing. Jesus loved them. We should love them too. They try. They fail. We try. We fail. It is in the trying that is the important thing. The Greeks say: "The Gods love those that TRY."
The symbolism of Bread (the staff of life) and wine (the elixir of the Gods). We are to appreciate both the Earthy and the Ethereal EVERY DAY.
I loved the ritual of Communion, where as a community we gathered to share something symbolic and the humanity and the spiritual nature of this holy act sunk into my bones. We are to be grateful.
Then as soon as the ceremony was done, the parishioners left and the Priest and Altar boys went round and covered all the statuary with purple cloths to symbolize Christ's death on the cross. We would go back to church the next day to do "The Stations of the Cross". This is where you start at one point in the story of Christ and ritualistically go through each one with prayer and meditation till you end up at the cross of the dying Jesus. There is a deep anguish that this process uncovers in your soul. The feeling that you are lost, you are alone, you are abandoned by the Gods. This is the feeling that is portrayed by the dying Christ. This is a feeling that is Universal sometimes by all of us.
While you may or may not believe in the deity of Christ....the feeling is still Universal of the desire to be known, to be loved and the feeling of abandonment in your hour of need is also Universally tragic. It hits home.
We all need direction and guidance in whatever form of faith that we embrace.
Then there is the hope that springs Eternal with Jesus's symbolic rising from the dead. That we can experience Redemption. We can be NEW again.
There are those who sit at our table of life, who may not believe us and will forever be the "Doubting Thomas" in our lives. Thomas did not believe and needed to feel the puncture wounds in Jesus's hands and feet and see the gash in his side from the Centurion's blade. Jesus happily let him explore. I am one of those "doubting Thomas's". I do not trust easily, and I question everything. But I was made that way. To have blind faith may be a gift or a curse. I prefer to use my mind to question and to reason. And you know what? Jesus loved Thomas anyway.
This Easter for my Christian friends... or Eostre for my pagan friends...there is something that we can learn from this story no matter what your faith is.
We are to be grateful.
We are to try to trust.
We are to be born again new every day with hope in life and hope in ourselves.
Accept those who are not perfect.
And hope for the best.
So whether you love Jesus or the Goddess or just Mother Nature herself...
I wish you Peace...
a faith that questions from time to time...
a little Wine ...
and a Communion with your soul.
The Hindus also have it right when they say:
"God dwells within you...AS YOU."