#147 Merkel, Mooncakes and the Messiah

This week has seen a few global events that allows Sydneysiders to lift their eyes above the backyard fence or beyond the apartment door.

Today, Germany is set to go to the polls for the first election in 16 years which will result in someone other than Angela Merkel becoming their Chancellor. It really has been that long.

She seems somewhat of an institution now. For someone in Australia, it’s amazing that anyone in a Christian Democratic Party has had more than even 5 minutes of attention.

Not that I have any idea what Merkel personally believes. Her father was a Lutheran minister and she appears to have been opposed to gay marriage, despite letting MPs have a conscience vote: thus leading to legalisation in Germany in late 2017. If you’d like to find out more about Merkel, here is a good place to start. (I love the photo of her as a chemistry student on summer camp.)

Regardless of her conservative views, even now as she steps down by choice, she holds significant popularity within her country. Indeed, across all of Europe, she has been a stabilising figure for some time.

Again, from the Australian perspective, this is bizarre for a Christian Democrat. Perhaps Europe’s more accepting of Christianity than I realise. (No idea, never been there)

I guess that’s the way things go around the globe though. Different strokes for different folks.

Zum beispiel, der mond. (For example, the moon – if Google Translate has served me well)

This week also saw the mid-autumn festival for Asian cultures. Especially in China, this brings with it a focus on the moon, which leads to the abundant production of mooncakes as part of the celebration.

When I talk to my Chinese students about the story behind mooncakes, I find there is some disagreement about the actual story. However, a moon goddess seems to feature in all the renditions. Presumably overtime, and depending on what part of China you live in, there may be different customs that feature in the celebrations and different elaborations in the storytelling. If you’d like to find out more about these stories, here is a good place to start.

As my Church has a lot of Chinese members, the WhatsApp chat was running hot all week with mooncake recipe suggestions and where you could still find some to buy – if you got in quick. This got me pondering about the moon and at first it seemed like something so far removed from my worldview.

But then I realised: different strokes for different folks.

The Jews were big on the moon festivals as well. They just linked them with lambs instead of cakes.

Since ancient times there has been a fascination with the moon. And since ancient times the Jews have celebrated the new moon, seeing it as a time for worship. The Passover, a major Jewish festival – if not the most important – also revolves around the moon.

It was at the time of the Passover’s full moon that Jesus, the Messiah was crucified. He was the ultimate lamb of the festival. Since then, Christians have celebrated their own mid-Autumn festival – in the southern hemisphere at least – that revolves around the timing of the moon. We just call it Easter.

If you’d like to find out more about The Messiah, The Bible is a good place to start. 🙂

Yours in wandering around the globe while staying at home,

Alison

Photo by Marie Martin on Pexels.com

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