Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mary Magdalene, Red Eggs, and Zombies

It amazes me that I have managed to live this long without ever having heard these myths about Mary Magdalene and her red eggs. The story goes, apparently and I may have a lot of details wrong, that Mary told Emperor Tiberius that Christ had risen, and he replied something to the effect of, "You're nuts, he's as likely to rise  as those eggs in your hand are to turn red." Then, the eggs turned red.

Why was she holding eggs? Where was she going with those eggs? Were they a snack for later or was she off to market? Who knows, but I do love the intersection of Christianity and Pagan symbols.

I'm almost palpably excited to tell the kids this story next Easter. I'm so excited that I might crack (eggs, crack, ha ha) and tell them right now, but they've requested that I reread Robinson Crusoe (the James Baldwin adaptation) again, and they wouldn't be interested in a myth right now.

I wasn't interested in reading Robinson Crusoe again either. It was the most boring book on the planet when I read it at age ten, and it was the most boring book on the planet 22 years later when I read it to the kids a few months ago. They loved it and kept interjecting comments like, "Wow, this guy is really good at survival?" and "How do you think he did this or that?", and I would reply, "I'm not paying attention. This is the most boring book on the planet, and we're not going to take questions or discussions." The worst part, however, is that sometimes, they have me reread passages if they think they've missed a detail. It's sooo excruciatingly dull, and now I have to suffer through the most boring book on the planet again. (I'm actually secretly pleased that they requested it, although it is pretty fucking boring.)

(Also, Friday has the same voice as Doobie so analyze that as you will.)

So when I do, finally, get to tell them the Mary Magdalene, red egg myth next year, I wonder if it will change anything except that they'll want red eggs. Every year, we celebrate the first Sunday after the first Friday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Howie and the kids call it Easter, but I try to spit the complete name out as much as possible. (Happy first-Sunday-after-the-first-Friday-after-the-first-full-moon- after-the-Spring-Equinox). Every year on that blessed holiday, the kids hunt for plastic fertility symbols, Howie cooks lamb, we drink too much, and I tell the kids every death/resurrection/springtime myth that I can think of. I know the message of why our ancestors have celebrated Spring is sinking in because I heard boy one explaining the matter to his friend. I wish not fighting for eggs during the plastic fertility symbol hunt would sink in.

Obviously, I have deep cynicism towards holidays, and I'm constantly looking at why we celebrate. Generally, I use the holidays to reflect upon the things I imagine that people would have reflected on during these times for millenniums. However, I think, sometimes, it would be nice to remove some of the cynicism and just have a beautiful festival, complete with the sort of meaning and passion that gets lost when you eschew absolute truths and live in a too post-modern world, something like this:

When Christ is Risen at midnight we proceed around the church 3 times after all the candles are put out, only to return to a well-lit marvel as we enter the tomb where Christ was laid on Good Friday to find He is Risen!!! I joyous canon of prayer ensues, with intermittent and raucous calls of "Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!" in any number of languages including, but not limited to, english, slavonic, greek, welsh, armenian, german and gaelic! The liturgy begins right after the canon and annual traditional Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom.

Or it might be nice to experience time go by in the lulling way that it did when I was a kid like this:

Every year we are there when the angel announces to Mary that she is chosen, when Christ is then born, presented into the temple, is baptised by St. John the Baptist, the sermon on the mount, entrance into Jerusalem, the betrayal, last supper, crucifixion and the laying in the tomb as we await the Resurrection throughout the night until He is joyously risen!!! We are there with Him as though time has not passed these 2000 years. Soon it will be the Ascension and Pentecost! 

I think time might go by in a lulling way for the boys, but this description above (from my friend's blog) is how it used to go by for me ages ago. 

And briefly back to the Zombies and things I didn't notice 'til this year (What in the world have I been doing; This is almost as disturbing as the 32 years that I wasted not listening to the Grateful Dead): umm, Mathew 27, 50-53 in which poor Jesus dies but then, a bunch of holy people rise from the dead and walk into the city. Ah, that didn't happen in Jesus Christ Superstar or Godspell or the Mel Gibson movie that I haven't seen. It's just been hiding in the Bible this whole time!!! What the heck?  How did I miss those verses for so long? There's no point to this; I'm just registering my surprise at something that has been around for quite a while, and I just happened to notice.

In case you didn't steal someone's pink Bible (like I did) and you don't have one on hand:

50And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent; 52and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many


1 comment:

  1. We have consulted with our favorite Eastern Orthodox, and found out the following:

    St. Mary Magdalene, Myrrh-Bearer and Equal to the Apostles, travelled far and wide following the Resurrection. When she went to have audience with Caesar, she was expected to bring a gift. Wealthy people brought quite important things like jewels or horses, etc., the less wealthy might bring silver or wine, while the particularly poor would be expected to bring, at the very least, an egg. Mary came from a wealthy family and Caesar was expecting something more than the egg she had with her because he did not understand that she had given all her things away to following Christ. The indignant answer ensued as well as the egg changing color, which you already know.