I could have been a patrician but not a roman. I just read How the Irish Saved Civilization and it looks to me like if the Irish had been able to influence the Church more (and longer) Martin Luther might not have had 95 theses. It looks like the Irish took the best parts of their culture and the best parts of Christianity and melded them (or Patrick and his theological successors did). Women weren't subservient (abbesses lead Mass); an understanding that we all sin most of the time (beginning of private confession/penitence and multiple confessions and forgiveness); little concern over celibacy in the priesthood or chastity in the populace (to paraphrase Cahill, Patrick was as silent on sex as the Jesus was); divorce (Celtic tradition was marriages were renewed every year); no slavery (the Irish didn't completely give it up but they did understand that it was not consistent with Christian ideals). Think of how different the Roman Catholic church would be if the vikings hadn't invaded Ireland and disrupted their export of monks to the continent and their influence on the evolution of the church. Think of how different Europe would have been if the Irish hadn't instantly fallen in love with books or had censored their libraries. Obviously I'd need to do more reading on the subject of the early Christian church in Ireland to be sure but I think I could have been an Irish Christian.
Went to the Maundy Thursday service at my church last night. In the past it's been a bit sadder, darker service than last night's (or maybe it just seems that way*). It still ended with the Tenebrae, at 1st Pres. there is a reading of the Gospel account of the last seven words of Jesus, with the extinguishing of a candle after each. Last night there was more emphasis on the new covenant. "Love one another as I have loved you." What more do we need to know?
As I sat there I, once again, marveled at the story of Jesus. The idea of a god becoming human, a human baby at that. Growing up and living as every other human does and then allowing himself to be executed in this horrible manner . Would you wish teenagehood on anyone? God could have plunked himself down as a 30 year old. Surely, had he wanted to God could have worked it so the manner of execution was more humane, right? But he didn't. On purpose. I'm not sure how much of it I believe but the story is incredible.
Also, as I sat there, I thought about how much I like going to church. There is something about the church service that is centering, kind of like meditation. I definitely understand why some find the traditional style service boring (God's frozen chosen) and why someone might not like 1st Pres in particular (it is a bit clique-ish). I'm comfortable there even if I don't feel like I fit in. If they'd just do Vesper services I'd go every week. (Because God doesn't really think we need to give up sleep to worship her.)
Enough ramblings for this morning. Whether you are celebrating the Vernal Equinox (yesterday actually), Easter, Nowruz, or nothing at all go out and enjoy this lovely weekend (lovely in Alabama at least).
*There have been several Maundy Thursdays when I was silently asking "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"