Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 22, 2011

Friday, 22nd April 2011 – GOOD FRIDAY deliberations

First day of five day weekend  – a longer break for Easter this year, because the season has fallen so late in April, it has clashed with another public holiday here in Australia.  ANZAC Day always falls on the 25th April, which this year, also happens to be Easter Monday.  So the government has declared Tuesday to be an extra public holiday in lieu of ANZAC Day.

Of course, the extra day means more people will take the opportunity to go away for the longer break, which in turn means more vehicles on our streets and highways, especially in the rural areas. One thing I’m always very conscious of at this time of year – is the ‘Easter holiday period’ road toll of deaths and injuries through road accidents. Already by this morning, there had three recorded deaths. Of course, in comparison to toll figures in countries like South Africa, that kind of figure is minimal, yet from my point of view, any death or injury from a road accident should have been avoidable in some way – they represent an unnecessary waste of human lives and resources. Inevitably [as is the case every weekend, or weekday]  people driving around now, who won’t be at the end of the period. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life and death, and little amount of worrying on my part won’t change that!

Anyway, my Good Friday morning began with a phone call to the radio station – in preference to getting up on a non-work day and driving up to the station for my weekly 10 minute sports report, which I normally deliver before I head off to work. I think host Ron was a little disappointed at my non-appearance in person, however, I think he would have been more let down, had I not even rung in with my report.  That approach allowed me to return to bed for a while, with a cup of tea [a beverage I seldom drink or enjoy], and to do a bit of reading.  I always have three or four books at the go at one time – currently, it’s two rather contrasting reads. One is called ‘in My Words’ by top Australian horse trainer, Gai Waterhouse, virtually a transcription of a blog she has been writing over recent years, ever since the horse flu scare almost devastated horse racing in Australia. Interesting to follow the writing style of someone else. 

The second book is a Folio Society publication, which I purchased recently, in order to meet my commitment to that organisation. I purchased books from the Society some years ago on a regular basis, and of course, because their books are produced at such a high quality, they are also very expensive. With a couple of job losses a few years ago, I ceased that practice, but was drawn back in about a year ago, with the special deals that the Folio Society always has on the go, to attract subscribers. Those ‘specials’ are usually pretty good value, but obviously, there is a price attached – a commitment to buy a certain number of books over a specified period from their catalogued collection, at rather high prices. My latest purchase will have to be my last one I think – with plans to finish full time work later in the year, it is not going to be a viable ‘hobby, irrespective of the quality of the publication!!  This one for eg, is described as having it’s ‘Text set in Monotype Bell 11 point leaded one Point, and printed on Abbey Wove Paper, and Quarter bound in cloth with printed paper sides. Not quite sure what all that means, but it sounds impressive, and I must admit, that the collection I have built up over the years, also ,looks impressive!  This particular publication  is called Dickens’ London’ and is a selection of  essays written by the great English novelist, Charles Dickens about the city of London as he saw it in the early 1800s. It is quite fascinating in terms of the detail and almost intimate perception he draws together of the people, their lives, the good and the bad,  and which observations obviously formed the basis of many of the characters and stories behind his many novels, such as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield [my favourite],  Bleak House, the Pickwick Papers, and so on. I’ve only read a couple of the essays so far, but feel I have some entertaining reading ahead of me.

Earlier this morning, I was listening to some music composed  [or at least being played] to recognise the 400th anniversary of the creation of the King James’ translation of the Christian Bible. Now even that translation was influenced  by many other translations and scholars’ interpretations, going right back to the original writings of both the Old and New Testaments. Today, we have more modern translations, and while there are people who object  to any change in the King James’ version, I consider that view misguided – even the 1611 translation was partially a response to the needs of that time, and each new version before and since has been attempting to adapt to the times and attitudes, whilst retaining the same message, but making it more accessible and perhaps understandable to new readers, allowing the Word of God to reach people in their own ‘language’. I have no problem whatsoever with that.  In theatre and the music halls, we regularly see modern adaptations of traditional operas, ballets, plays by Shakespeare, etc, not to take away the original meaning and message intended.  My favoured modern interpretation is the publication entitled ‘The Message’, produced by Eugene H Peterson. In the Introduction to his production of the ‘New Testament, with Psalms and Proverbs’, Peterson writes:-

“The arrival of Jesus signalled the beginning of a new era. God entered history in a personal way, and made it unmistakably clear that he is on our side, doing everything possible to save us. It was all presented and worked out in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It was, and is, hard to believe – seemingly too good to be true. But one by one, men and women did believe it, believed Jesus was God alive among them and for them. Soon they would realise that he also lived in them……………..This version of the New Testament in a contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message current and fresh and understandable in the same language in which we do our shopping, talk with our friends, worry about world affairs, and  teach our children their table manners. The goal is not to render a word-for-word conversion of Greek into English, but rather to convert the tone, the rhythm, the events, the ideas, into the way we actually think and speak.”

I’m putting below here, a comparison of a brief portion of the Good Friday story, taken from John Chapter 19.

King James version:  Book of St John: Chapter 19: verses 25-30

‘Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold they mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar; and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished, and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.’

Same text, as submitted by Peterson, in ‘The Message’

‘While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her,. He said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother. Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, ‘I’m thirsty’. A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After he took the wine, Jesus said, ‘It’s done…..complete.’  Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit.’

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