Does the expression "Mother Nature" make you wince? It makes me wince. And it's not really because of anything intrinsic to the expression itself. I don't mind "Mother Ireland" or "Mother Russia". But "Mother Nature" seems to have certain pagan or neo-pagan associations which grate.
So I was less than pleased that "Mother Nature" was an expression used in one of the meditations during my parish's Stations of the Cross today. The procession was led by an older lady in civvies, who I assume was a nun (even though the priest only used her first name, when thanking her at the end), and who I also assume wrote the text.
There were also references to people being bullied because of their sexual orientation, to centuries of oppression against women, and to the injustice of a woman or a minority being denied a job in favour of a man or a white person.
"Oh God!" I muttered at the last one-- earning a sharp look from the lady in charge, who happened to be standing right beside me at the time. (For all that, she thanked me quite sweetly at the end, since I read out one of the meditations.)
As for the Celebration of the Passion, I found myself surprised by powerful emotions as I watched the whole congregation-- infants and pensioners, men and women, Polish and Irish, black and white-- go up to kiss the cross. I felt a sense of communion and oneness which almost moved me to tears. Just because I argue for particularism in many regards, it doesn't mean that I don't value true universalism. In fact, I would argue that particularism in the right places only enhances true universalism.
Finally, it makes me so happy to go into the supermarket and see plastic coverings over the alcohol shelves! Just two days in the year (Christmas and Good Friday) when alcohol can't be sold. Just two days in the year when consumerism and MY RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER I WANT is trumped by heritage, and reverence, and a sense of specialness. Is that too much to ask? For tens of thousands of Irish people, it seems to be, since pundits and keyboard warriors rage against this law every single year. I don't expect it will survive much longer.
Enjoy your hot cross buns!