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  • Writer's pictureLaura McBride

Hot Cross Buns make me cross


Fair warning: Easter is my least favourite holiday on the entire Christian calendar.

Indeed, my antipathy to Easter is one of the main reasons (well, OK, there are LOTS of others) why I found the Episcopal Church in the US to be far preferable to the Roman Catholic, although liturgically, they are very similar. In the US, Episcopal churches generally have crosses without the body of Jesus of Nazareth hanging off them. They are crosses for the Risen Christ, not the one in extremis. And, if one is going to believe in the myth at all, I far prefer to think about and even worship a person whose agony does not have to be relived over and over and over to be valid. I believe the liturgy in both churches goes something like this:

He suffered, died and was buried. The third day he arose again from the dead and ascended into heaven.

I prefer to pick up the tale in the final phrase.

I really prefer the scholarship of the late Laurence Gardner who makes an excellent case for Jesus of Nazareth having been a wealthy and well-educated rabbi who didn't die, but rather spoke his truths and was saved by the simple expedient of a helper giving him a sleeping draught (the “gall” offered on a stick to the “dying” Jesus), and then arising and sailing to France. As kids, we all thought the southern edge of the Mediterranean was cut off from Europe, but it wasn't so. Joseph of Arimathea was a tin merchant who sailed to Cornwall, and some think the young Jesus, son of Joseph, went with him once or twice. So this alternative scenario is eminently possible, and I think even likely.

Gardner also contends, with some ample evidence, that Jesus was not nailed but tied to the cross like all other criminals. Indeed, for many years, scientists have noted that the nailing would have been impossible, that the hands, particularly, would have ripped to shreds long before the end of the time Jesus supposedly spent on the cross before dying. So yes, he could have been cut down, his deeply unconscious body removed, brought round with other herbs, and—voila!--a miracle.

Nothing—nothing--in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, rabbi of the house of David, suggests that salvation was to be had by suffering, at least if the reports in the Gospels—those very ones accepted as true—are in any way true. Rather, one gained salvation by right thinking and good works and love. So why the suffering rubric? Who came up with that? In contravention of the teachings of the man/god himself, one might add.

The church is unreliable on this things for the most part. Pope Francis seems to be getting closer to the actual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth than has any Pope before him, or any other Christian religious sect leader.

Maybe, if I asked nicely, he would tell the British people to knock it off with the Hot Cross Buns already. Granted, the little sugar crosses on the buns do not have the image of a suffering man on them, but they are meant to remind one of that suffering. I mean, who wants to eat anything when one's stomach is in an uproar because of horrific images arising?

Add to that the fact that the buns are really not very tasty, and you have a situation in which the only reason to eat them is to enrich the local bakery that makes them.

Frankly, I'd rather save the money and buy the latest, and posthumously edited, book by Gardner, The Grail Enigma.


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