Friday, April 10, 2009
What follows is a repeat from Good Friday of the last few years. I always seriously ponder about putting this out here again. In the end, I always come to the conclusion that I still believe every word in it. Whether I put it out here or not, the sentiments expressed in the piece are still in my heart. So, if God is omnipotent, and likes a joke as well - both of which I believe wholeheartedly - I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by re-publishing.
The only other thing nagging at me is whether or not it's self-serving to publish it again. After all, I just said "I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by re-publishing" and that sure sounds self-serving.
Nah. God knows what's in my heart. I might be misguided, but I have to believe He would find my intentions to be good. And, as everyone knows, the road to heaven is paved with good intentions!
Well, it's something like that. Enough blathering! Enjoy. Or, if you don't enjoy it, be a better Christian than me and say a prayer for my forgiveness.
I MAY NEED YOUR PRAYERS ANY MINUTE NOW
It is probably Good Friday as you read this. If you're late getting here, it could be Easter. If so, what in hell are you doing reading this crap, you heathen? You couldn't possibly believe that anything I have to say is divinely inspired. Get your ass to church.
OK, now that the easily-guilted holy rollers are gone, let’s get down to business.
(By the way, I wrote this on Thursday night, wise guy; that’s why I’M not in church, OK?)
(Well, all right, it was Maundy Thursday, but my feet were already clean.)
(That’s a Catholic joke. See, Maundy Thursday was when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, showing them that the way to do His business was to serve others, no matter how high and mighty you might be perceived by those others. In the Catholic Church, some parishioners have their feet washed by the priest at Maundy Thursday services.)
(Except in Boston, the Archbishop refused to wash the feet of some female parishioners a couple of years back. He said something to the effect that Jesus only washed men’s feet, so he wasn’t going to wash women’s feet. That’s why I haven’t been to a Catholic mass in quite some time now, even though I’m most definitely still a Christian.)
(Ugh. I’ve gone from lightly sacrilegious and flippant to deadly serious. Bummer. Let’s see if we can recapture the mood.)
Jesus is hanging on the cross. He looks down and sees Mary Magdelene crying.
Jesus says, “Mary...”
Mary looks up, still crying, and says, “What is it, Lord?”
Jesus says, “Mary...”
Mary again says, “What is it, Lord?”
Jesus says, “Mary, it’s... amazing.”
Mary says, “What, Lord? What is it? What’s amazing?”
“I can see your house from up here!”
Whoa, Pilgrim! Don’t go away mad. You may think it’s just a crummy blasphemous joke, but I can justify almost anything. Nothing up my sleeve... PRESTO!
See, Jesus is closer to heaven and he can see Mary’s house IN HEAVEN. He’s telling her that her faith has saved her and that she will spend eternity in paradise. Hah!
And I guess that’s today’s lesson: It all depends upon your point of view. This is "Good" Friday, right? Why? Why do Christians call this "Good" Friday, when this is the anniversary of the day when their savior was murdered, the day He was nailed to a tree and died a miserable, painful death?
It's because without the cross – without that death - none of us can ever see our house in heaven, no matter how high up we are here on earth.
Hey! That was pretty good! Quick! Are the easily-guilted holy rollers still within shouting distance? Call them back. Maybe this is divinely inspired.
Let’s see if I can wriggle out of another one.
So, see the painting up above, of Jesus on the cross? There’s a plaque nailed to the cross, just above His head. The plaque reads "INRI." Want to know what it means?
I’m Nailed Right In.
Well, what it really means is lightning bolts should be coming any minute now, and I’ll be going to hell immediately, IF God doesn't have a sense of humor. However, I believe that God has an amazing sense of humor. My belief is that, when we die, we’re going to find out that this whole thing was one long and involved joke. And we’ll laugh and laugh and laugh when we hear the punch line.
Or, if you don’t find that terribly convincing, try this on for size. If God doesn’t have a sense of humor, what can we expect in the afterlife? An eternity without laughter? Hey, kill me now and leave me dead. None of that resurrection shit for me, thanks.
Or are some jokes theologically sound and others not? Maybe. We all have subjective senses of humor, I guess. Maybe God does, too. If so, the only way to know for sure is if we can hear God laugh. Then we’d know what He finds funny. Let's try it. Everybody be very quiet for a minute. Here goes.
Two nuns cycling down a cobbled street. The first one says "I've never come this way before."
The second one replies "Must be the cobbles."
So, I don’t hear God laughing. I’m assuming you don’t hear anything, either, right? Well, that's OK, it wasn't a great joke. Maybe we'll try again later.
What it comes down to is having faith. One way or another, you've got to have faith. If you don't, you're screwed. My faith lives in the belief that everything is for the best and that everything will be revealed in the end. Now, if what's revealed in the end is that God has absolutely no sense of humor at all, and He's royally pissed off at me for this, then that's the way it goes; I'm doomed. But, if God has no sense of humor, I've been doomed for a long, long time now. You, too - so at least we'll all fry together.
(The following will seem totally unconnected, but wait for it.)
I remember watching The Mike Douglas Show one day when I was a kid, and he had this comedy troupe on. For the life of me, I can't remember their name. However, the bit they did has stuck with me forever. It was a parody of Moby Dick.
Ahab and Ishmael are standing on the deck of the Pequod. Ahab is looking through a telescope. Suddenly, he sees something and gets all excited.
Ishmael: "What is it? What do you see?"
Ahab: "IT'S THE GREAT WHITE WHALE!"
Ishmael: "Give me a look."
Ahab hands him the telescope. Ishmael puts it up to his eye and looks out at the sea. After a little while, he takes the telescope down from his eye and hands it back to Ahab. He says:
"Eh. It's a good white whale..."
I know why it's called Good Friday. It's because people were saying, "What a horrible day! They've croaked Jesus!" And so it had to be explained, over and over, that this was actually not a bad thing when you consider how it plays out in the end. So, "Good" Friday.
But why not really get the point across? Why not go all the way and call it Great Friday? Or even Super-Duper Amazingly Fantastic Friday, All Sins Forgiven Or Your Money Back? A little salesmanship wouldn't hurt.
Well, that's about it for me. I'm doomed, right? Eternal damnation; fire and brimstone; some guy with horns, in a red union suit, poking me with a pitchfork.
Nah. See, Jesus died for our sins and that even includes crummy jokes, Thank God. And, if you're an atheist or otherwise not a believer in Christianity, I got you to actually consider this stuff for five minutes. I got you to read the name - Jesus - 12 or 13 times. I figure that's got to count for something.
Have a joyous Easter and I'll see you on Monday - unless I'm struck by lightning.
(Which, by the way, I would consider proof positive that God has a sense of humor, although personally I'd find it much funnier if He did it to one of the producers of Wife Swap.)