As far as I can remember, I had, up to that point, only been told the nice stories about the life of Jesus. Easter was solely the domain of a generous bunny with a basket of chocolates. The day I was a flower girl, still just five years old, at my aunty's wedding, is the day the world skewed and was never the same again. I had on an ivory coloured, satin frock and ringlets in my hair, a painful procedure involving the hair being wound tightly in strips of cloth and slept in. I'd lost a few front teeth and was asked not to smile as I would ruin the wedding photos...but I smiled anyway.
At the church, my younger sister and I were presented with a little white bible each, a posy of flowers and a gold necklace. My sister's had on it a plain cross but mine had a little extra...nailed to my gold cross was my beloved man who loved children. There he was, tortured and dying and it was clipped around my neck with smiles and I gathered I was supposed to show gratitude. No one else seemed upset by it, they looked pleased. I had nowhere to go with the horror of it all, except inwards.
Worse was to come. I found out later that I was actually personally responsible for his untimely death. That, because I was not 'good enough' and 'a sinner', he was tortured and killed so that I may be innocent again. The shame and guilt almost buried me, sapped my life force and resulted in increasingly desperate acts of attempted redemption....the striving to be good, better than good, the best, so that I was as far removed from that murder as possible, nearly got the better of me. The fact that he apparently 'rose again' did nothing to diminish the pain.
What I believe now is that Jesus, if he existed at all, was a good, brown Middle Eastern man, a revolutionary of his time, who inspired people and who paid the price with his life. His killing was political and used to control the people he inspired through fear, guilt and shame....those living in his time, and many since. I believe he was a visionary and a really nice guy. I've been feeling the heartbreak of that horror lately, sobbing big tears for the murder of the man I loved and who loved me just the way I was.
The release is healing the part of me I buried in order to get through, it's helping me mourn and finally let go the lost relationship with my father, the grief for which I could never get to because this sat on top.
Nowadays I worship at the altar of connection and soil and life and death and microbes and decay and that bigger sense of the Silent Mystery I sometimes touch on. But I will always be grateful for the visionaries, past and present, who risk everything to show how good things COULD be here.