Saturday, April 7, 2018

Happy Easter, Part II

المسیح قام! حقا قام!

That's "Christ is Risen!  Indeed he is risen!".  I'll leave you to figure the language. 

Today we'll be going to the Eastern side of the tracks for the second round of Easter services.  Or Pascha, as they prefer. 

Things have been crazy the last few weeks, hence the drop in posts.  I learned that when it comes to insurance companies paying up after an accident, it's not as easy as just giving them the information and waiting for a check.  Even now, I'm jumping through hoops trying to get things sent through and hoping for the best.

Nonetheless, spending two Holy Weeks back to back is a good way of grounding your feet in more important things. 

I was going to post the differences I notice between the Catholic/Western traditions and those over on the Orthodox side of the tracks.  Unfortunately, see the struggles with life above.   Nonetheless, I will say that, contrary to popular belief, Orthodoxy is not simply Catholicism without a pope.  There are actually quite a few theological differences between the two, not to mention the cultural and liturgical differences. 

Yes, there are many similarities.  And in terms of the basic framework traceable back to the earliest years and centuries of the Faith, you can see the common roots.  But there are quite a few significant differences. 

One main difference I notice is that the Orthodox do not come at the Faith lived out from the perspective of power.  Catholics, and to a degree Protestants, enjoyed centuries of being the official religion of the dominant civilization.  Orthodox have spent centuries living under the thumb of somebody - the Tsar, the Communists, the Ottomans. 

An interesting little tidbit.  They say that last week - their Palm Sunday - is the big attendance day in Antiochian and similar Middle Eastern centered churches.  Usually in the West we talk of Easter/Christmas Christians.  They have Palm Sunday Christians.

Why?   Because in most places across the Islamic World, despite media propaganda to the contrary, Christians live in varying degrees of oppression or discrimination or at least marginalization.  In some areas, it's common for the local authorities to put extra burdens on the churches at key times, such as Easter.  They do this to make it tougher on the believers.  So rather than fight it, the Christians in question learned to move their special days, at least the ones they hope will get those stragglers, to other days that won't be targeted. 

So Palm Sunday, rather than Easter Sunday, becomes the big 'holiday day' for the year where you'll see people you don't see the rest of the year.  I thought that was worth pointing out, since our propaganda ministries go out of their way to portray the Islamic world as one of love, joy, peace and the perpetual singing of John Lennon songs.

Nope.  It's safe to say that the goal of the Islamic world has never been to live and let live on an equal setting.  Live and let live based upon its own standards and qualifiers, sure.  But not as we here in the West imagine it.  And we imagine that, in large part, because of the very Christian heritage we in the West are working over time to eliminate.  Go figure. 

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