The last time we saw our mythical hero, the guy whose momma proclaimed him the son of god, he was riding triumphantly into Dodge on a donkey preceded by a bunch of happy hippies strewing  palm leaves before him. I hope they were also mouthing make-believe trumpet sounds and tossing fragrant flowers at his feet.

Sadly, this put-on turned nasty. Fast. According to the story some Jewish Temple Guards, helped along  by a traitorous disciple-he had twelve, one of them a woman-turned him in for 30 pieces of silver and our hero was arrested.

Here begins a really terrible part of the story. Our poor hero is found guilty of blasphemy and another of his  disciples-Peter, of rock and shoes of the fisherman Roman Catholic Popish fame-denies him, too.

We move on with all kinds of awfulness. Flogging by the Romans. Governor Pontius Pilate, who, later, washed his hands of the whole business and declares our hero to be innocent but, for political reasons, turns him over to Roman thugs to be crucified.

Now crucifixion is an absolutely horrible way to die and we’ll talk about that later because , at the moment, our hero is being marched through town dragging a heavy wooden cross, wearing a crown of thorns, the town’s people throwing rotten eggs, and ends up nailed to the cross he’s carrying…

…what kind of nightmare writer wrote this Grimm’s fairy tale anyhow?

Even worse- let’s roll time out a bit-some religious folks have kept our poor hero hanging in effigy for over two thousand years! In their rites, to this day,  in some neck of the woods, they even reenact the story. Carry crosses. Walk the walk. In my neighborhood in a large church parking lot there is a huge white marble-well, it looks like  marble- likeness of our hero, on the cross. His  mommy and his brother, the son of the old carpenter we may assume- our hero’s mommy had a bunch of kids-and his girl friend, Mary Magdalene, stand at his feet. He hangs there 24/7. Every time I drive by I want to go in and physically haul him down.

Do you know how one dies of crucifixion? Your feet are nailed to a board. Your hands are nailed to the cross beam. Your feet start to hurt-the nails remember-so you lift yourself up with your arms and then your hands start to hurt. When you hands hurt, you put your weight in your feet. Unbelievable agony.  And it can go on of days. Fortunately a Roman soldier comes along and saves the day. Our hero does not die of crucifixion…

…but before this, it is written, that our poor suffering hero looks down at the figures at his feet and says, “Woman behold thy son. Brother behold they mother.” In other words, “She did this to me, kid, and she can do it to you, too.”

That says it all don’t you think? I mean it’s a clearly stated summation of the entire affair and this, dear reader, is the expurgated version of good Friday (?). Sounds like a perfectly horrible way to spend a Friday, to me. But I have a surprise ending.

Tune in tomorrow.


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