Columns

Mr Jesus and the Easter bun

A tale of another sort

Franklin JOHNSTON

Friday, April 25, 2014    

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ON my hill the 'Good Book' ranks with Mass Jabez's tales, and at Easter the soft rain soothed Christ's blue-beaten brow as we listened. The calla lilies — the prophet's flower — are gory, blood-red with crucifiction pain, and some snowy white with resurrection hope. The mythmakers were here so we listened and traced the distant arc of deadly Riverton smoke — pretty from afar.

A grumpy Old Testament diety had a fling with a virgin who bore a son and was humanised in the New Testament. Amazing what a child can do to hardened men — resurrection! Softer, caring he may even have thoughts of union and give the child his name. Our men are frugal with their names — considering it was that of a slave ship, slave owner, pet dog, from fiction, or a thing liked. He did not spare his son, no way! The hoops he put him through — born in a barn, reviled, crucified like a common thief. Suffering builds character. He had plenty. Easter to Mass Jabez is bun season squinched-up between the plum and mango crop and Jabez told a tale:

"Jesus was a boy from Hall's Delight, just off the main road top side Mr Daley's house. His parents had a donkey, his Dad Joe was a carpenter. He was courting when he found out Mary was pregnant — "It wasn't me." But he liked her, she him, so they stuck it out. As angels had been coming and going from her house Mary had a lively imagination. The angel story did the rounds...village folk can be cruel — village folk honest, polite, very nosy. She had been seeing things, hearing voices for months — God sent angels. She would have a son — stuff happens. The village figured she needed a man, Joe made a move, and they closed ranks. But before they could jump the broom the belly bus out, and he said better bun for angels than for Ryan the village idiot. Soon he too was seeing angels 'stay the course, Joe, you are it; God does not do contingency plans'. As a young carpenter he knew seeing angels could lose him customers, so he kept it in his heart. One day he was getting antsy with queries; 'how many angels does it take to make one virgin pregnant? So he threw some things on the donkey and went down to Papine via Tavern and Hope Flats with his lady and the belly.

To cut a long story short, labour pains started by UC, but they could not pay fees. They could not stop in the market as 'who gwine clean up afta di donkey?' The park was druggie paradise; the Chinie shop was locked tight. The donkey wouldn't budge from Bigga's shop. And, as God would have it, Mary's water burst so Jesus was born right there. Then they saw a bright star, singing angels, and the donkey brayed. Three wise Dreads performed post-partum routine, left goodies fit for a king, and were gone by dawn. Awesome! Life ensued. Mary had no more visions. Joe plied his trade. The village was happy. Jesus went to basic school near Miss Mac's shop. He did not get flu, chicken pox, was a loner, and Mary did not pressure him. Carpentry was not his thing, as he was about his Father's business — so he said. Villagers said 'Mary give the boy two slaps, so him go to VTDI'; she did not pressure him. He roamed all over the district — Lindo's Gap, Constitution Hill 'round by Joseph land; Cane River; by Justice Burch in Dallas, the Castle-a real Roads Scholar. He was up early and out late. Mary heard of exploits in Friendship Brook, Bito, Bloxburgh to Lucky Valley; he reached Cane River in Rose Apple season; Bull Bay and Harbour View, where he met an Ethiopian, Haile Selassie's great grand daddy, off a plane and reasoned. He never left earth until later.

It was after breadfruit season that she first heard he was a 'person of interest' to Babylon, and Mary was worried. He spoke revolution; a new King, destruction of the temple, God sending his son to rule, a new world order. But, she said, "He is a youth, leave him." When after his 30th birthday youthful exuberance could not wash; this was sinister so they trailed him to gather evidence. Against logic he escalated his message at gungo planting time saying ritual prayer, fasting and washings were not enough; so 'rend your hearts not your garments' as the Son of God is here.

And when he cut 12 men and a few women from the crowd as disciples it was a defining moment. Mary wept. Some were groupies, so few could take the pressure; no plum jobs or lording it over enemies — not in my kingdom! Jesus spoke riddles, was sombre and they poo-pooed his views that the Son must die. Surely God's angels will rescue his son. Yet Jesus was not suicidal, as he planned a fete for later in the week — Easter bun from Hannah Town and water, which he blessed, poured, broke and fed many; all sober. His message got intense and Babylon was alert. Spies everywhere, and Mr Judas the mole. This will surely end badly! The calla lilies were blood-flecked.

Jesus became agitated in the run-up to Seder — they mark freedom from Egypt's slavery by penitence. We mark Emancipation by partying — no wonder! He spoke of death, went to the mount of isolation, was sleep deprived and testy with his disciples. They were confused as he said 'no sword play'; all kings fight blood. Ding-dong mind games — Babylon wanted him but feared the crowd. He did not give up or unleash his power. The disciples were depressed some chucked it in, others stood afar. They had been at Mount Hope, near blinded by the energy burst of the Godcraft hidden in clouds. Got power, but Jesus did not use it. Why? Babylon arrested him. His faith rulers put him on sham trial and carted him off to the civil rulers for sentencing, and they asked and got the capital one. Judas was suicidal and did the deed — man up! You never saw disciples scatter so fast; denials at warp speed — "Me? I don't know this man." Cock-a-doodle-doo, cock-a-doodle-doo from Mass Jabez rooster. The calla lilies were now blood red.

By sundown the capital sentence was carried out. They put him on a pole to end it quickly. But he would not die. So they jucked him in his side so he would bleed out. He kept calling for Daddy. He would not die so they gave him blood thinner on a rag. He just would not bleed out. Suddenly a scream: "Puppa God" Then thunder, lightning; the church at Friendship Brook fell into the gully. The disciples saw real power — a happy, sad day. They took the body from Dallas Square to Bloxburgh — a place of rocks — and laid it out in a cave. The next day women came to perform rites, could not find the body, but some angels assured them he was all right. So they ran off with the news: "He is risen!" Some said it was woman talk, but he appeared to the sceptic, and the calla lilies bloomed white with future. His disciples would shake the world; some broke faith through isms and schisms, but some to-be followers are alive today; strong in faith and works. It started in our village a very long time ago. God is God!

Easter is more than bun. One child can make change. Jamaica needs every child, so love them all!

Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advises the minister of education. franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com

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