Notes on a Buddhist path

Good Easter

April 24, 2011 By | 5 Comments

Growing up Catholic, I always felt Good Friday was a poorly named holiday. After all, it wasn’t such a good Friday for Jesus. Sitting in church from 12-3 p.m. for each of the stations of the cross was torture, and I don’t mean that as a pun. It was painful to witness the stages of Jesus’ suffering, as I know it was meant to be. Meditating on each of his final steps towards death deepened our connection to his pain and our own.

Easter three days later was the real good news day in my book. Resurrection, rebirth, spring, renewal and chocolate. As a child I have to say I was glad Jesus pushed that rock aside from his tomb, but I was really over-the-moon happy to find a See’s bordeaux chocolate creme egg in my overflowing Easter basket. I didn’t really give much thought at the time to the end of his and our suffering as I ate my way toward my annual diabetic stupor.

As I grew older I was troubled that my Catholic fore-Fathers chose the crucifixion, the favored execution method of the Romans for nearly 1,000 years, as the symbol of the church. Can you imagine a guillotine or a noose representing a religion?  I’d rather see one of the pagan symbols of Easter, a word that itself can be traced back to a Germanic goddess, take the cross’s place as Christianity’s logo. A hare or chick, maybe an egg. I don’t think any of them should be chocolate though.

The cross is a graphic example of how we got stuck in the grief and didn’t take in the real message of Easter. Rebirth and reincarnation are important tenets in many of the world’s religions. Seeing the decay of leaves and emergence of life from its humus is as sustaining an image of existence beyond death as any belief in heaven or a life after this one.

Easter is a time for unfurling into a new way of being. Can we let go of our suffering on the crosses of our egos and cravings? To say “it is finished” each moment and wake up from the dream of illusory torture? The stone has been moved from the opening to our heart. Now is the time of light and fresh air, each inhale a confirmation of this rare and perfect instant.

I think Mary Oliver speaks to this so well:

…What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.

Excerpt from “Morning at Blackwater” from Red Bird, poems by Mary Oliver, © 2008


  1. dear tess, never thought of iot, this instument of executrio (the cross) as a religious symbol. speaks to sufferring, the passion of Christ?

    BTW — the direct link to my little piece on Good Friday is

    peter (rock/Simon)

    • It does indeed Peter. Thank you for that.

      And I’ve updated my post to include the direct links to your Good Friday piece as well as your brilliant chocolate bunny repartee. 😉

  2. re: my previous post

    i wish they’d let you spellcheck/edit a post. but once it’s gone, it’s gone. public forever. oops.

  3. I’m sure all that up and down Catholic business during the Stations of the Cross over the years has lent to my arthritic knees; but, oh, glorious Sunday and sugared diorama Easter eggs. However, I think it was the year I found a baby blue transistor radio in my Easter basket hidden among the peonies that I truly appreciated Christ’s suffering for us. Good Friday…kind of like a rabbit’s foot; eh, Tess?

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