Happy Easter, everybody. Having Easter in March can be a challenge: you don’t always get the weather needed to wear your best pastel Easter tie or that flowery sundress. If it wasn’t part of my job description to know when Easter is coming, I would have known Easter was early this year because right around Valentine’s Day we started seeing commercials for Cadbury Crème Eggs. I used to love Cadbury Crème Eggs, but I can’t handle them much anymore. Cadbury “Creme Eggs are the best-selling confectionery item between New Year’s Day and Easter in the UK, with annual sales in excess of 200 million” British pounds. “At the Bournville factory in Birmingham, in the UK, they are manufactured at a rate of 1.5 million per day.”1 Anyway, I love the commercial they still run from the ’80s where we see the auditions for the new Cadbury Easter Bunny. There’s the pig and the lion and then the cat, which says “bock-meow, bock-meow, while wearing bunny ears.”
I’ve heard it said that we Christians shouldn’t pay any attention to these things, that buying a chocolate Easter bunny or its fondant-filled eggs will cloud our judgment, make it hard for us to remember that Easter is all about Jesus rising from the dead.
I don’t think that’s true, if only because we already have all manner of other things we use to make it hard to remember that Jesus is risen from the dead.
That puts us in decent company, by the way; the disciples, despite being told numerous times, by the Man Himself, that He was going to rise from the dead, seemingly just forgot. In all the Gospel accounts, Jesus would go to great lengths to tell the disciples and anyone else who would listen that His victory was bound up in His death. “Take up your cross and follow me,” Jesus would tell them, and they would take up nothing of the sort. “He that loves his life shall lose it;” Jesus would tell them, and they would argue semantics with Him. Jesus told them that “he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life,” and Peter told Him that was crazy talk.
“That’s just the way it went over and over. No one listened to Jesus’ talk about death and sacrifice, resurrection and new life. That was nonsense. In fact, by the time Jesus actually rose again from the dead, it took no less than an angel to prompt the women at the tomb that morning even to remember that Jesus had regularly said such things all along. The angels seem a little agog that they even had to remind the women of such a thing. After all, if someone you know told you they would rise again from the dead some day, wouldn’t you think that you’d remember such an utterance!!?”2
Well, maybe not. We often don’t, or at least we often need reminders of the promises of Christ. That’s the way of the world, though, and not something to feel guilty about, even as it is something to combat heavily. It’s just a matter of fact that our responsibilities can weigh heavily upon us, our busyness can distract us even from the things that are right in front of us. How often do we find ourselves not listening to the person we are talking with but rather just waiting for him to shut up so that we can talk? How often do we find ourselves not listening to God as He speak to us, but rather just waiting, or maybe even hoping, that He would stop, so that we can tell Him how things are?
The danger, of course, is that when we aren’t listening to God, when we check our phones or rehearse our worries or do anything at all except listen and remember the promises of Christ, we, like those first disciples, miss out on the joy, on the sweetness of the Resurrection.
Thankfully, the Lord has given us reminders of that sweetness and joy. He has given us lilies to adorn our altars and Cadbury Crème Eggs to spike our blood sugar, He has given us the work of the bees for light and sweetness, He has given us each other, the Church, so that we can be witnesses together of His empty tomb. And finally, Jesus has given us Himself, all of Himself, Body and Blood and Spirit, so that we might always remember. May this Easter be to you and to all you love nothing but sweetness and joy.
1Cadbury Crème Egg, Wikipedia.
2Scott Hoezee, This Week.