Tag Archives: Easter

A secular education

Teacher: I have here the essay written by Esme for the assignment I gave you for Easter, the feast of Ēostre, the Anglo-Saxon pagan celebration of the Goddess of Spring. You were to explain the famous hymn written by Johann Sebastian Bach in his “Saint Matthew Passion”:

O Sacred Head ill-used,
by reed and bramble scarred,
that idle blows have bruised,
and mocking lips have marred.
Now dimmed that eye so tender,
how wan those cheeks appear,
how overcast the splendour
that angel hosts revere!

This hymn, “O Sacred Head”, refers to the headland that juts out to sea. It was sacred to the indigenous people before the European colonists came over and stole and raped the land. Until then it had been a sacred headland, and now it is covered in invasive species of introduced noxious plants. That is why it is scared by weeds and brambles.

The colonists mocked the native people and they pined away. How overcast the splendour of their ancestral heritage.

It is amazing how far ahead of his time Bach really was. It points to his absolute genius that he was not only able to compose wonderful music but could foresee the harm brought to the planet by the devastating colonists.

2075. Virginia’s chocolates

Virginia thought she would learn to make chocolates. Not chocolate, but chocolates – those things with something scrumptious like a nut or some fruit jelly encased inside. She had once read about it in a magazine but unfortunately she neither had the magazine nor too much of a memory as to what the magazine said.

But these days there was the internet. Everything could be found on the internet including the making of chocolates. She would find an easy method and follow it to a tee. It was like magic how the centre got into the chocolates, especially if the centre was runny. A nut could simply be dipped into melted chocolate, but runny stuff was another thing altogether. Virginia thought she would begin with a strawberry flavoured centre.

Part of the problem was that Virginia, in the main, was a terrible procrastinator. She would put things off, and put things off. This was not to be the case with her chocolate-making. She would aim to have little baskets of chocolates to give out this coming Easter. She couldn’t mess around. It was almost inevitable that the first chocolates she made would be a disaster, but perhaps by the second attempt she might produce something good enough to serve as an Easter gift.

Virginia went shopping with the list of things required. When it came to flavouring, she wondered, looking at all the options available in the supermarket aisle, whether she should make a variety of flavours and not just strawberry. There was strawberry, and raspberry, and apricot, and lemon, and orange, and… the choices went on and on. In the end, Virginia settled for strawberry and orange. Then there was the mould. She hadn’t realized there were so many shapes available. She chose moulds that were in the shape of vegetables: carrots and pumpkins and zucchinis and so on.

When she got home Virginia wonder if the vegetable shapes were appropriate for Easter. She should have got bunnies and cockerels and eggs. Not to worry – she would make do with what she had.

Anyway, that was last Easter. With Thanksgiving approaching Virginia still hadn’t made any chocolates, but the vegetable moulds would be more than suitable for Thanksgiving. Yes! She would make little baskets of chocolates to give out this coming Thanksgiving. Or perhaps Christmas. Christmas would be better. It was more of a chocolatey occasion than Thanksgiving.

Music: In the beginning

I’m having a break from creating something new today, but thought this was appropriate enough for the Easter season. I’ve posted it once before. This is the beginning of a longer commissioned work (43 minutes) based on the Gospel of Saint John, that I composed a little time back. It’s best listened to with the volume turned up on good speakers – neither of which I have – just broken headphones! It’s music that’s not to everyone’s taste but is the type of stuff I write when not blogging!

The photo my sister-in-law took out of her window!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

If the link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

1364. Stella’s foul mood

Stella was in a foul mood. For several weeks she had planned her little Easter Sunday party for her daughter, son-in-law and their three young children.

They came to lunch quite often, but this Easter Sunday would be special because… because it was Easter Sunday. Stella prepared the menu meticulously. She spent hours painting and decorating eggs for the children. And now all was ready!

Early in the morning, Stella wandered her garden hiding chocolate eggs for the children to find. She had prepared the vegetables. The rack of lamb was on the bench ready for the oven. For dessert they were to have blackberry pie with her special homemade honey ice cream!

Late morning Stella’s daughter phoned. Arnie the son-in-law was feeling off-colour. Could Stella come and pick her and the kids up? But Stella’s car was broken down. I thought I told you. Not to worry, said the daughter, we weren’t that keen to come today anyway as they had been invited to a friend’s place and Arnie was keen to go there. Not to worry, said Stella.

Stella didn’t quite know what to do. She went over to the neighbours on the left hand side who had two young children. Would they like to come and hunt for Easter eggs in her garden? We’re not Christians and we don’t believe in all that stuff.

Stella went over to the middle-aged neighbours on the right hand side. Would they care for some chocolate eggs? Chocolate is chocolate, they said. They came. They hunted for the eggs. They stayed for a delightful rack of lamb and a blackberry pie. A convivial time was had by all. They had recently won millions in the lottery. Their win was a secret. They bought Stella a brand new car.

Music 78: Victimae paschali laudes

78easter

The melody (one of my all time favourite pieces of music) is from an ancient Gregorian chant Victimae paschali laudes. It tells the story of Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb of Jesus in the morning and finding it empty.

I composed this piece without referring to the chant, as I thought I knew it off by heart! I’ve discovered I left a bit out, but I’m not going to redo the piece!

Listen to the music HERE

899. Ingratitude

899nursing

Joshua was only thirty-three when he was diagnosed with a fast-moving form of stomach cancer. He was given a week; two weeks at the most; three would be a miracle. His mother took over.

She nursed him from his hospital bed. She sorted out his many visitors; yes, you can see him now; no, I’m sorry he’s resting, you must not disturb him.

How quickly the time passed, and how quickly all visitors were prevented from “upsetting him”.

And then he died. His mother took over the funeral arrangements. Joshua’s wife had had enough. She dismissed the mother-in-law. The mother-in-law had prevented her from nursing her husband in his final days, and now she was arranging the after match function.

Joshua’s mother was so upset that she didn’t even come to the funeral. What lack of gratitude! The ingratitude and unkindness of her cold-hearted ex-daughter-in-law.

To listen to the story being read click HERE!

898. Grandma Margaret’s begonia

898begonia

Grandma Margaret was given a beautiful red begonia in a terracotta pot the shape of an old boot. It was beautiful!

And then the begonia died! Well, these things can’t last forever. Grandma Margaret put the terracotta pot with the dead plant in a corner of her carport.

A grandson visited.

“Grandma, what’s with the clay pot the shape of a boot?”

“I had a beautiful red begonia growing in it, but it died. These things can’t last forever.”

Grandma Margaret’s grandson watered the soil in the terracotta clay pot. The begonia sprouted. It flowered a beautiful red.

“It just needed a bit of water, Grandma.”

To listen to the story being read click HERE!

853. No butter for Lent

853butter

It was Ash Wednesday. Cecily never enjoyed Lent. Every year it was the same. Every year, for six weeks, she gave up butter. No butter on her toast in the mornings. No butter on her lunchtime sandwich. Cecily loved butter.

Giving up butter served two purposes: it was some personal sacrifice to make during Lent in the build-up to Easter, and it helped keep the weight down. It’s amazing how a mere six weeks without butter could work wonders with the waistline.

Cecily had eleven grandchildren. They were all coming on Easter Day for a celebration. And they did! What a lovely time! What a lovely day! Quite the loveliest way to celebrate Easter!

“And you know,” said Cecily to her eleven grandchildren, “the thing I most like about Easter Sunday is butter. I always give up butter for Lent.”

“What’s Lent?” they asked.

To listen to the story being read click HERE!

542. Easter joy!

542easter

It was the Easter season. Young Joel was seven. He had three friends who lived nearby.

“Dear me,” said Joel’s mother. “I seem to be out of carrots, just when I need some to prepare for dinner. Run down to the grocery store, Joel, and buy four carrots.”

She gave Joel some money.

Now the grocery store owner, for Easter, gave away a free Easter egg with every purchase. Joel didn’t go straight to the shop; he went to gather his three friends.

Each bought a carrot.

541. From death to funeral

541anthea

When Anthea’s husband passed away they had been married for thirty-eight years. They had no children. Don’t get me wrong; they’d tried frequently, furiously and fruitlessly to make a baby. And now Anthea was on her own.

The time between the death and the funeral was a roller-coaster ride. She had to organise the funeral service: select a coffin, arrange for flowers, for pall-bearers, for a church minister, for hymns, for an organist… She was busy, busy, busy.

Then friends visited. It was cup of tea after cup of tea. There was little time for mourning. She sometimes wished the visitors would disappear, but she was nonetheless grateful for their presence.

And then came the evening and the night. She never knew a night could be so dismal and so long. So lonely. So bleak. Such fearful unending darkness.

Anthea sat on the end of the bed and waited. And waited.

Dawn broke.