Easter Friday

What does Easter Friday mean to everyone?

It’s only ever been the first day of a long weekend to me, but it obviously has more significance for some people.

Someone asked on Twitter today “Why do we have Christmas carols, but no songs for Easter…?”

There’s nothing like the amount of singing at Easter as there is at Christmas, especially by non-church-goers, but there are Easter hymns, as pointed out by Adam Smith who has “One of Adam’s favourite pieces of music” on his blog: King’s College Cambridge 2017 Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana Mascagni

This is more my sort of thing. Most of what I know about the religious side of Easter I have learnt from this:

Whatever you do for your Easter have a good one.

Social media and Martin Luther

Colin James looks at the connections between social media, Martin Luther and a secular Easter

…six months from now will come the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous, and fabled, nailing of “theses” to a church door which sparked a revolution – via the still newish medium of printing.

Luther’s door-notice proposed a seminar on the church’s sale of “indulgences” which, for a price, allegedly got people more quickly into heaven through purgatory, where one purged one’s earthly sins. Luther, citing Augustine of Hippo, reckoned the decision on where one went after death and how quickly was for God alone.

This was a wrathful God, angry at humans’ disobedience, but also a merciful God, redeeming chosen repentants through Jesus Christ. The church had interposed as intermediary and the cash fed the clergy better.

At the time upstart communities of friars such as the Dominicans and Franciscans had church bigwigs fearing they might lose control. They turned on Luther and demanded obedience.

As often in such circumstances, as some autocrats learn the hard way, this was a counterproductive overreaction.

A counter productive reaction is now referred to as ‘the Streisand effect – “an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.”

A stubborn sort, Luther instead expanded his inquiry into the clergy’s other ungodly activities.

Working with an artist friend and writing in straightforward language, he published short pamphlets with jazzy front pages questioning aspects of doctrine.

These quickly caught on. They were bought and read, then read out to others – an early sort of social media.

The result was fast popular ferment. In today’s parlance, we might say Luther went viral.

And some of this resulted in the opposite to what Luther campaigned for.

Ironically, Luther’s version of Christianity and its derivatives led many to doctrines as narrow as, or narrower than, what he protested against.

The way people behave hasn’t changed much, it’s just the means of behaving that has advanced. Because of simple and instant mass communication things can happen faster but are often very fragmented and short lived.

A few pockets of resistance and despair still lament and flail against ‘neo-liberalism’ but the many don’t care, they have moved on to their own bubbles in social media.

Over the three decades since the radical economic deregulation of the 1980s, policy that originated from intellectual analysis of economic imbalances has increasingly come to resemble doctrine, especially, as indicated here last week, in monetary policy.

It is a doctrine from which a few benefit handsomely, the middle gets by and a large swathe of people are trapped in indigence. Think ultra-low interest rates and high house prices and rents, for example.

Interest rates used to be low before ‘neo-liberalism’, until Muldoon’s money manipulations went mad.

A modern Luther might nail “theses” to a Facebook page or blog or tweet demanding an end to an arrangement that privileges a few and offends public decency.

The difference now is there are ‘theses’ being nailed to Facebook every day. It’s difficult for anything to be seen outside small bubbles, unless they happen to get a viral lift – but that is more likely to be inane claptrap, the Nek Minit phenomenon.

And if, as 500 years ago, this modern Luther were to apply ingenious design, clear messages and new technology to spread a message fast and wide, the doctrine might suddenly be overturned – a 21st-century Reformation.

Something similar was touched on in Jesus Christ Superstar:

If you’d come today
You could have reached the whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication

That seems very unlikely, unless the message was delivered via a nude selfie. I’m sure there will be modern wannabee Jesuses and Luthers nailing theses all over the Internet. But the market has changed, as has the competition.

Politics seems to be well down the popularity charts but James suggests that if it were to happen it could then take one of two courses.

One is what is going on in rich northern democracies, a descent into populism or populist-distorted policies defensively adopted by established parties.

The other is a rethink from first principles by cooler minds responding sensibly to 2010s conditions that are very different in many ways from the 1980s – a rethink that leads not to schisms and conflict but a constructive 2020s future.

The second is much harder to do, as Europe found 500 years back.

And it seems a remote possibility – what are the chances of our politicians working together on “a rethink from first principles by cooler minds responding sensibly”?

Not in election year.

Not in the year after the election, when the new Government will be intent on delivering on it’s campaign promises and bribes.

Not…

Luther’s Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences

Good Friday

Good Friday is one of the most important religious days of the year for Christians around the world.

Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday, or Easter Friday, though the last term properly refers to the Friday in Easter week.

In my ignorance I started by heading this post ‘Easter Friday’ but fortunately discovered my error.

The date of the holiday on the Gregorian calendar varies from one year to the next, and there is disagreement about its calculation. It is a widely instituted legal holiday in many national governments around the world, including in most Western countries (especially among Anglican and Catholic nations) as well as in 12 U.S. states.

240px-wc3bcger_kreuzigung

No matter how religious you are or aren’t this historical event has had a huge impact on our society over two millennia.

Good Friday is a public holiday in New Zealand and it is one of the most active days for churches, but is the most shut down day of the year commercially with it being illegal for most businesses to be open. This remains contentious with garden shops in particular flouting the law.

However you do your Good Friday have a good one.

For me it will be a quiet family day, but I will do a bit of positing at Your NZ too.

Easter Friday

Most of my knowledge of the history of religious Easter is from Jesus Christ Superstar.

You’d have managed better
If you’d had it planned
Now why’d you choose such a backward time
And such a strange land?

If you’d come today
You could have reached the whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication

With that in mind…

Could they start again in the modern era? They would probably encounter insurmountable problems, and would struggle to survive the twitterati piling on them let alone Facebook and The Standard.

And they may not have enough commercial advertising potential to get the modern media to take on their case.

I don’t much like the closing crucifixion scenes but this is a strong performance from ‘Jesus’ nearing his end.

 

 

Easter shopping

Did anyone miss shopping yesterday? I didn’t, but I don’t go shopping very often, and I can survive for a day or three without fresh bread. I can make my own bread if I really want to.

Is it a good thing to continue to ban most shopping and commerce on Easter Friday?

To some people it’s one of the most important days of the year.

To many others it’s the first day in a long weekend when they have to be a bit better prepared provisions-wise than normal.

If I was able to go shopping on Easter Friday that surely shouldn’t be offensive for anyone else, as long as they can deal with the day as they see fit?

Would a compromise like Anzac Day be appropriate, with shopping only allowed after midday? Would that provide sufficient respect for some, and sufficient freedom for others?

Have a good Easter

Have a good Easter, however you do it.

I haven’t got much planned but will do a few bits and pieces locally. I don’t do the church stuff but might have another look and listen to Jesus Christ Superstar. I’ve liked that since recording it to tape when it was played in full on radio a long time ago.

I’ll have time to chug away posting through the weekend, before a busy week out of town and less posting next week.

I don’t think this song was in the original but was added later (that appears to be correct going by early track listings, it may have been added for the film version):

I really enjoy Yvonne Elliman’s vocals and her heart and soul in her songs in JCS.