As Aotearoa settles down into the second week of the lockdown, we also head into the Holy Week, Easter and the Passover. It’s a weird time to be experiencing all of this. All the while, my own family completely ignore the lockdown whilst Covid-19 sweeps through society (in Australia not here – and yes I’m calling them out). The Passover irony is that those who don’t listen to the rules and breach the lockdown end up catching the disease.
I’m not saying that Covid-19 is a God-ordained plague. Or that passover and a lockdown have any strong comparisons – although there may be something to be said about staying inside to avoid a pandemic compared with following a ritual so bad spirits & bad vibes don’t come and wreck havoc on your household. I’m not knowledgeable enough to make such an opinion. The point I’m trying to drive home is that, I generally feel sombre around this time because Easter is a symbolic story that gets me introspective (i.e. that feeling at the end of the year when you look back at what you’ve achieved? At this time I look back at my spiritual health and look at the lack thereof any soulfood). Coupled with a national Emergency Alert and lockdown because of a global pandemic – I’m a bit more unsettled than usual. I don’t usually engage in emotional outbursts these days because I like to keep drama-free generally, but when I feel anxious – I turn into a hermit and go through peaks and troughs of overthinking and blankness. Hermit-life isn’t an entirely bad thing at the moment.
The Jewish Passover ritual involved the smearing of the blood of a sheep on the top and sides of the doorway to the home so that demonic forces wouldn’t enter. During the Exodus, when Pharaoh refused to obey God’s command to release the Israelite slaves, it was the 10th plague that God inflicted on the ancient Egyptians, resulting in the death of the first born of each household that didn’t keep that Jewish ritual. There were several other related rituals that were kept with the Passover, however this one, transferred from the old testament to new testament is recognised in the Christian celebration of Good Friday, the evening when Jesus was crucified as the Passover lamb – rooted in the Jewish ritual mentioned.
I remember when I first learned about colonisation and weaponised religion. I still haven’t entirely reconciled my indigineity with my Christian upbringing. At the moment the two frameworks sit side-by-side in my understanding, both serving a purpose when I’m trying to process and understand something. I don’t ignore what colonialism has done to Polynesian people and some of the worlds indigenous populations. However, I try to focus on the fact that Christianity (stripped of the euro-centric messengers that on many interpretations though maybe not always, weaponised it against the worlds indigenous), is about another group of people that were persecuted because of how they chose to live and their belief system. I know that’s oversimplified af but racism and prejudice have lot to answer for generally from the start of time.
Thankfully, a good friend and spiritual mentor introduced me to Messianic Christianity some 5 or so years ago (Bible teaching from a Jewish perspective, sans most of the eurocentrism and fluff picked up from all the different versions of Christianity and evangelism over the centuries). And I’ve done my share of church shopping in search of a fellowship, teaching and an approach that was based on principle, reason and logic (as much as you could get within the context of some of the unfathomable things covered in the bible).
I’ve neglected this part of myself and mind for the last 3+ years. By neglect, I mean that I haven’t been reading, critiquing for myself and applying any scripture in my life (and I do enjoy this once I get going – it’s like the momentum of picking up a training routine). I haven’t been keeping fellowship with people who are doing exactly that, although I once was. I’ve got some amazing friends who are Christian, Atheist and Polytheistic but not friends that I talk about this with regularly. And I have no excuse other than – the process is confronting; change is annoying, frustrating and hard!
I’ve only been taking baby steps in this part of my life during that time so, the intention here is to start walking properly and consistently. When I think about this part of my life, I get overwhelmed and just put it in the “I’ll do it later” kete. Since I can’t muck around or have a social life during this lockdown, I want to try and get some of my Messianic readings (which have been sitting in my actual kete at home) done. The soulfood is right here under my nose, I don’t technically have to go foraging for it – just be willing to take it!
[insert several palm face memes]
Happy Palm Sunday!