Posts Tagged ‘Good Friday’

Happy Easter

April 5, 2015

Twice yesterday, Saturday afternoon, I was greeted ‘Happy Easter’.

Once by an English friend, then later by a Nepalese (Buddhist) friend.

Is this a new trend, as never before have I been greeted ‘Happy Easter’?

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, but never Happy Easter.

Christmas is marked by an orgy of obscene consumerism. Easter has tended not to be marked, apart from shops closing on Sunday (they used to close Good Friday).

There has though of late been an attempt to bring back Easter, processions in the street with a large wooden cross being carried, Passion Plays.

What has Easter eggs and rabbits got to do with Easter, asked my Nepalese friend?

She, as with most non-Christians, finds Christianity a perplexing mystery. If we are honest, so do most Christians, as they lack any understanding of the origins of their religion.

Absolute nothing, I said, and I have no idea where it has come from.

Triangle, a Christian bookshop was offering Real Easter Eggs.

What are real Easter eggs?

Painted white eggs?

In Lithuania, the eggs are painted, then at Easter smashed.

Easter eggs in Milk and Honey

Easter eggs in Milk and Honey

In Brazil, a tradition of painted Easter eggs.

Easter bunny and egg in Cyprus

Easter bunny and egg in Cyprus

In Cyprus, 2m high rabbits and eggs in the street.

We have Western Christians and Orthodox Christians celebrating Easter at different times of the year. For Orthodox Christians, Easter is not this weekend but next weekend.

And Easter is never the same date, it moves with the cycle of the moon.  The reason being is that, like Christmas, it is an adaption of pre-Christian festivities. It is easier to persuade people to celebrate a festival with a new name, than to force them to celebrate a new festival.

Easter paintings in Farnham Parish Church

March 30, 2013
carrying the cross

carrying the cross

taken down from the cross

taken down from the cross

I came across these painting last week, but the church was too dark to see them properly.

Today it was much lighter.

They were not originals, which I would love to see. There was no information on them, or if there was, I did not see any.

I suspect they are Stations of the Cross, but if so I only saw eleven and there should be twelve, but I may have missed one.

Note: There are twelve, one is of the Last Supper.

I have always been impressed by Stations of the Cross in churches, as in each church, they are different.

Today there was a large wooden cross, which is not usually in the church. I assume it appeared yesterday, Good Friday.

Mary’s thoughts on her way to Calvary

April 6, 2012

My heart is broken,
As my beloved son comes to death,
Others mock him,
A crown of thorns forced on his head,
Rose bush thorns, sharp as holly like daggers digging in.

I can feel his pain,
Sharp splinters pushing in,
Heavy wood slowly slipping down,
The stony road prickling his bare feet, the hot, sandy, dusty path.

They’re shouting, and jeering,
The spiteful soldiers, in their rich armour,
Their secretive echo around my head,
Blood trickles down Jesus’ straggled hair.

I have no choice,
But to stare longingly at him,
I shall have to bear living without him,
Jesus has agreed and will not change his mind,
He will take the hard and painful way, to be crucified.

I have hope,
That Jesus will enjoy a grand, new life,
And God’s plan to change the world will succeed,
People will change and live a better life,
And Jesus, my son will have given his life for us.

Written by a year 3/4 (age 7-9 years old) pupil at St Mark’s Primary School.

Published in St Mark’s Parish Magazine (March-April 2012).

A celebration of Holy Week at St Mark’s by the children
Reflection on The Nail at St Mark’s
The Cross

Crucifixion or Corpus Hypercubus

April 22, 2011
Crucifixion - Salvador Dali

Crucifixion - Salvador Dali

The Nazarene was not weak! He was strong and is strong! But the people refuse to heed the true meaning of strength … He lived as a leader: He was crucified as a crusader; He died with a heroism that frightened His killers and tormentors. Jesus was not a bird with broken wings; He was a raging tempest who broke all crooked wings. — Kahlil Gibran

Christ crucified on a hypercube, using cubes as nails. Gala, Dalí’s wife, is the figure in the bottom left, who stands looking up to the crucified Jesus. The scene is depicted in front of the bay of Port Lligat

What Salvador Dali has cleverly done is shown Christ crossing into another dimension, crossing the transition zone.

When I first saw this painting it took my breath away. But first a little background which will aid understanding.

Picture a point, then a line of length unit one, then a square of side unit length one, then a cube of similar side length. What we have drawn when we draw a cube is the equivalentof a line in three dimensions. Now, if you can, picture or at least imagine the equivalent of cube in four dimensions, this is a hypercube.

Now unfold outwards the sides of a cube. What we get is cross formed of adjacent squares, a cube represented in two dimensions. We can do the same with a hypercube, fold it out into three dimensions, but istead of adjacent squares in the form of a cross, what we get is adjacent cubes in the form of a three dimensional cross.

That is what I saw and that is what took my breath away, Christ was nailed not with nails but with cubes to a hypercube. Effectively what Dali was saying was Christ was being taken to another dimension, He was crossing the transitiion zone, but Dali was saying this using the mathemetical symbols in the painting.

It was some time in the 1970s. I was doing the first year of Arts at University. I gave a talk on what I saw. Everyone was astounded, they had not seen this before. But then why should they, they would need to not only understand the mathematics but also be able to imagine a hypercube.

Crossing the transition zone works both ways. Dali pictures Jesus crossing into another dimenension, but we also have God the infinite being represented by a frail human being.

As Paul so eloquently put it in Colossians 1:15: He is the image of the invisible God.

‘I thirst’ the last cry on the cross, the frailty of a human being, the eternity of God.

St Augustine understood only too well this crossing of the transition zone:

He becomes what we are, in order that we might become what he is.

Or to quote the Athanasian Creed:

Although he is both divine and human
He is not two beings but one Christ.
One, not by turning God into flesh
But by taking humanity into God.

Anyone who says Dali had no understanding of mathemetics not only does not know what they are talking about, but they themselves have no understanding either. It is like those fools who look for conflict between different religions or religions and science.

We can see this symbolism in his other paintings.

If we assume nothing appears by chance, and with Dali that is a reasonable assumption, then what of the chessboard? What does it mean? Anyone who has read The Eight (and if not please do) will realise this is a very good question.

It is not something I have thought about before and the simple answer is I do not know. I can only speculate. God as the Grand Chess Master. What then of the figure looking up? We know she is Gala, Dalí’s wife, but what or who does she represent? Is she Mary? If yes, then which Mary, Mary the Mother of Christ or Mary Magdalene? If this is a game of chess, is she the Queen?

More on the life and and works of Dali at

Fundacio Gala-Salvador Dali

Crucifixion hangs in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Cross
Salvador Dali: painting the fourth dimension
‘I Thirst’
Holy Week
The First Easter Week Musing
Quema de Palmitos
Ash Wednesday
The Cross
Passover supper
Maundy Thursday
The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion

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