Letters to the Editor: Similarities Between Classic Biblical History and Coronavirus Events
Passover is considered the main Jewish holiday and takes place annually in the Hebrew calendar on Nisan 15 in the spring.
This year it begins today, April 9, for seven days with the traditional Passover meal the night before, as all biblical days begin and end at sunset.
The story of the Exodus from slavery to Egypt is told from generation to generation, and the symbols of unleavened bread (unleavened bread), wine and other items are consumed as Jewish families remember the ten plagues, positively following the Ten Commandments, and the crossing of the Red Sea followed by the crossing to the Promised Land (Israel today).
Essentially, it is about the relationship between God and His people and how they experienced divine intervention and protection, including being spared by the Destroyer or Angel of Death as he swept through the Egypt, killing every firstborn and even animals after Pharaoh refused to do so. let the Hebrews go. The instruction was to smear the blood of an unblemished lamb on the lintels and doorposts of their houses. Thus, when the Destroyer “passed”, the Israelites would escape the fate of the Egyptians.
The Israelites remained in their homes until all danger was over. Egypt had been ravaged by plague and plagues galore and the country was devastated as a result. In the end, the stubborn pharaoh lets the people of Israel go.
There are similarities to this classic Bible story and today’s events with the coronavirus ‘plague’ and so many people having to stay at home until the danger is over. We know that in the end the end result was one of overcoming and redemption. We also hope so in the current situation which is hitting so many countries in almost “biblical” proportions.
The Last Supper of Jesus, which many Christians commemorate at this time of year, was that same Passover meal that included unleavened bread and wine and the account of God’s redemption from slavery through shedding of the blood of the paschal lamb. The New Testament says, “Christ our ‘Passover’ was poured out for us, so let’s celebrate the feast (of the Passover)” – what the early Jewish Christians did to remember his death on that date. This was then changed to a day of the week rather than the actual date and therefore the two are no longer related.
We can be aware of these things this Passover, with Jews and Christians in their homes while their places of worship remain closed. There is enough rich symbolism to satisfy both denominations. It may even bring some understanding between them as they both remember the redemption and the deliverance.
Bangor, County Down
Makem’s work represents the first major post-Heaney poetic affirmation
I WISH to draw the attention of Irish News readers to a body of verse which I am convinced takes poetry out of its current crisis and, more deeply than any other modern poetic claim, interprets the great questions and aspirations of the time. I am retired head of the English department at St Colman’s College Newry and I am referring to a four part collection The Tribe of Earth by Peter Makem from Derrynoose living in Newry.
The quality of this work is simply supreme by the highest standards. It’s mature, lyrical, beautiful, masterfully structured, and totally different in themes from anything I know. It comes at the right time because in many ways poetry is in crisis.
This is largely due to the modern fixation with the ‘sense of place’. Peter moves on to the totally different notion of “the meaning of being” – not being as a deity but the philosophical term. It marks a new identification of the great drives and aspirations of the human race which have dominated the history and art of the world. I am convinced that this body of work represents the first major post-Heaney poetic affirmation, totally different in its general themes, method, structure and style, but equally brilliant in all respects.
One of the dominant themes is the notion of the Ireland of Light made up of the Four Ages and projecting a Fifth Age to come.
They are as follows: first, the claims of the first stone monuments, famous as New Grange. Second, it is the monastic age in the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries including the large illuminated books.
The third is the ‘Restoration’, the great cultural and artistic movement of the last third of the 19th century concerning the founding of the GAA, the Gaelic League, Irish music collections, the gathering of legends and myths, the national theater and the boom in literature. The Fourth Age is Imperium Hibernium – the Irish Empire – the immense contribution of Irish emigrants of all traditions here to world civilization over the past several centuries.
The fifth age projects an Irish destiny, the resolution of the great philosophical problem of the being of beings and thus brings the Western world out of its great decline. Two of the four sections of the poems, “selected verses” and “a book of meditations”, are now open to everyone on the site www.petermakem.com
Warrenpoint, Co Down
Take a step back from negative thoughts
IN this dark time when there is so much negative conversation and people rightly worry about the prospects of contracting the dreaded coronavirus, it is also important to step back from our negative thoughts and turn our minds towards the positive things in our life. .
We can do this by erecting a dam on all negative thoughts, especially in the late evening, because if we fall asleep with such thoughts, they will remain active and this will not only disrupt our sleep but will leave us awake with thoughts that will become an obsession for us.
One proven way is to take a pen and write down three things that you are grateful for in your life, it could be your health, your family, your job, or whatever you value in your life, just stay. on these positive aspects for a few minutes and they will dispel your unwanted thoughts and allow you to sleep better and wake up in a positive state of mind.
Be grateful for the things we have in life and appreciate what we have because gratitude will make our life so much richer.
Clogher, Tyrone Company
Closure of the Ulster Way
I came across a sign that said the Ulster Way was closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
If this is true, has it been accepted by Stormont? If so, this assembly should make evidence-based decisions and stop following Westminster like herding animals. People, trying to stay fit and healthy, regularly walk down the sidewalks to the pavement to avoid each other while large open spaces such as the Ulster Way are closed to them. Here we have a population density of one third of England and those who decide on issues that affect the health of our population should keep this fact in mind.
DAMIEN GC DEVANEY
Larne, County Antrim
We are in the midst of a global pandemic that has already claimed many lives.
Yet in the midst of this crisis, the UK took the opportunity to impose draconian abortion laws on Northern Ireland that allow abortions of babies until birth.
The UK has already aborted more than nine million of its own people. How many more deaths do they want?
DR OWEN GALLAGHER
Glenavy, County Antrim