I sit here on Maundy Thursday thinking about this holiday weekend, or holy weekend. To Christians it is the most important time in their religious calendar. A time when they remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.
A much talked about event on social media has been the leaders debate. A time where political leaders have their say on the matters that concern them and field questions from the public. All these running up to the general election in just over a months time.
I have always voted in every election I am eligible it a privilege that a democratic process is followed allowing the people to have their say in who runs our country. The laws in this land have been made by our parliament for centuries and this way should continue.
I look at the situation in Indiana. It has brought in a law where businesses have been allowed to turn away anyone who they think is part of the LGBT community. This being under the guise of “religious freedom”. The similar case to the bakery in Northern Ireland where they have refused to make a product which supports gay marriage. They have claimed they cannot do so because of their relgious conscience.
I think of Jesus’ life and trying to come up with situations where he “turned people away” or decided certain people should be excluded from society. Quite the opposite is what the bible tells us. If we are to believe the gospel accounts then he welcomed those who had been “cast aside” and those who were seen as inferior.
What will be the message of the church and its people over this weekend? We don’t mind you coming and being part of our community as long you renounce your “sinful lifestyle”.
This is why I cannot be a part of a group of people who treats anyone as inferior or doesn’t understand what it’s like to grow up in a world where people say you are inheritantly broken or evil. I didn’t choose to be gay just as much as you chose to be straight. Maybe just maybe the church and its followers might think the damage they cause on the holy weekend.
Despite being a humanist now I still take time to reflect on things during Holy Week. Habits that formed during my time as a member of the Church of England seem to die hard. It is something I have done for on and off for around 30 years.
What am I doing with my life? Are there anything things that need changing. These are questions I do ask myself but it always seems easier to criticise and point out other failings rather than my own.
It’s easy to look at others an judge. I don’t like the way you talk or what you are saying. I don’t like your lifestyle or the priorities you have in life and not worthy of any time.
Do the things that others do have any consequences that could affect your life? If someone steals or murders then it could. This could end in the person being convicted and having to spend time at our majesty’s pleasure and that costs money in an indirect way.
Are we giving to others that would make their life better? Do we give our time and money to help those who are less fortunate that ourselves? If you are making an excuse while you reading this you probably need to.
Reflecting in rather than on Holy Week is a good thing. It makes me think of spring time and new possibilities and chances that we have been given.
What will I try to do more off to better others lives and less of that makes me more of a selfish person. Surely that has to be a good thing.
I have had an interesting day. I decided that I would have a look down at the service in the market place. This is a christian service of witness which takes place each year on good friday. It is begins with a walk through the main shopping street and ends in the market place. I used to take part in this which I was a church goer a number of years ago. My abiding memory is getting told off by someone for talking while we set off on the walk.
The service end but I had something else planned for the afternoon. Most people know that my education is in religion and I have followed an organisation for a number of years called Hope not Hate. This was set up to counter the extremist groups such as the BNP and others and to educate those about their BNP racist agenda.
During my year in Oxford training to be a teacher I visited various places of worship including two of the main mosques in Birmingham. I have always be interested in religion and thought it was about time I spoke to some muslims about their views of various racist groups and their outlook on the continuing attacks on Islam.
I set up a meeting with someone from the Islamic Diversity Centre in Newcastle and spent time discuss my concerns and getting their perspective on life. It was certainly an interesting discussion. It was good to hear that their work is to break down the various misconceptions about Islam. They regularly speak to various groups in the north east and part of their outreach is to provide services for the homeless and elderly; something even I wasn’t familiar with.
I was given a small gift which contained various literature about Islam. I hope that I will be able to learn more and get to know a few of the muslim population here in the north east. I attend to visit a mosque and hopefully gain more understanding of this religion.
The kids have eaten too much chocolate. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is on again. Stop running around. Did you buy mint sauce? What time does your mother arrive? When does she leave?
When I was growing up I remember once getting a mug with an easter egg in it. It was a Mr Men mug. That was it. Getting past the age of 8 seemed a land mark point that Easter eggs became obsolete.
Hopefully my weekend will be quiet. I might potter around the garden. I think. Don’t know really. I don’t have children that irritate me and I certainly won’t be watching family films we have all seen ten million times.