During Easter Vigil, we ponder the situation of the disciples and other followers of Jesus between the horror of the Friday execution and the as-yet-unknown surprising resurrection early on Sunday morning.
The in between time found the apostles hiding behind locked doors. Their fear was well founded. It was quite reasonable to think the Romans and religious leaders would be looking for Jesus’ followers. The time was ripe to completely shut down this silly group of rabble-rousers.
For us, Saturday finds us looking back to the horror of Good Friday while simultaneously filled with great anticipation of wondrous, joyous celebration in the morning.
The hymn Were you there when they crucified my Lord? draws us in to the horror of Good Friday. An intense rendition:
Danny Rivera, Longy’s Virtual Benefit Concert, Longy School of Music of Bard
The morning on Friday of what we call Passion Week saw the end of the sham trials of Jesus.
The verdict from Roman Governor Pilate was death by crucifixion.
The Romans had perfected this horrible method of capital punishment, having refined it to the point where it normally took around three days of anguish before the condemned would finally suffocate.
Hanging with one’s arms outstretched on a cross put tremendous outward pressure on the lungs, causing them to be fully expanded. A person would have to push up on the nails through their feet to compress the lungs to expel the oxygen, then slump down to inhale again.
Every breath of air involved extreme pain in the feet pushing oneself up followed by extreme pain in the wrists after slumping down. Eventually the muscles in the arms and legs would cramp causing additional pain.
Slowly, ever so slowly, a person would lose all their strength, being unable to push up, eventually dying by suffocation.
If you want to see what religious freedom looks like, you are reading it at this moment. Freedom of religion means I may express my beliefs in the way I wish. You may do the same. Don’t like what I have to say? Don’t read it. You believe something different? Fantastic. You are free to express yourself as you wish. Please do so.
Maundy Thursday was a complex, messy day for Jesus.
At the Passover dinner, he gave the apostles long instruction, to include a lengthy description of the new command to love one another. That command is where the Maundy comes from in Maundy Thursday – command Thursday.
During the dinner he instituted the Lord’s Supper, referred to as the eucharist, or holy communion. The instructions are:
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (NIV)
He did this weird washing of the feet thing, a task that was routinely done only by the lowest of servants.
After the dinner, Jesus and the apostles went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray.
While there, the betrayal by Judas was completed and Jesus was arrested. He was subject to a kangaroo court of a trial which repeatedly, flagrantly violated Jewish law. (That is a topic for another day.)
There were trials by Pilate, Herod, and again by Pilate before the scourging, the cross, and the tomb. That is tomorrow’s story.
The events of Maundy Thursday are told in a mournful song, Go to Dark Gethsemane. The dark melody is appropriate for the day. The dark lyrics accurately tell the story of the journey from Gethsemane, to the trials, the cross at Calvary, and the tomb.
Yet the song leaves us with incredible hope in the last line:
To the extent there was ever justification for closing schools, emerging research demonstrates it has been an extremely long time since any such justification evaporated. Research from Wharton shows the severe, lifelong cost of losing out on two or three semesters of education.
This is the fifth in a series of posts reminding us we have completed one year of “fifteen days to smooth the curve.” In California, we have started our second year of curve smoothing.
10/12/20 – Penn Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, Budget Model website – Covid: Trade-offs in School Reopening– Detailed economic analysis is thoroughly devastating to any argument there is any value in keeping schools closed and in fact there are substantive questions whether there was any value to closing any schools.
There will be permanent damage to the education level of most students with a serious adverse impact on lifetime earnings with a disproportionate impact on kids who are poor kids, disadvantaged kids, and persons of color.
Articles describing the destruction in the education world have been noticable to me over the last several weeks. Most of the articles have discussed the devastation in primary and secondary education.
Here are a few articles describing disruption in higher education:
Alternatives to traditional non-campus higher education are growing.
What might a post-covid higher education world look like? One scenario.
Lots of class-action suits against colleges for refunds are getting dismissed.