Saturday, April 16, 2011
The Rev. Mitch Todd, associate pastor, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt.:
And on the eighth day, God created the Cadbury Crème Egg.
No wait, that’s not right. The candy eggs have been around just three decades.
There was no Cadbury Crème Egg at the last supper. Mary was not holding a chocolate bunny as she watched her son crucified. The women were not carrying baskets of jelly beans as they raced to the tomb.
Hmm. Maybe candy and Easter don’t go hand-in-hand after all.
But wait. There would have most certainly been celebrations after Jesus’ appearances. There would have been rejoicing and lifting glasses and laughing and feasting. That’s the point of the abrupt transition from the sorrow of Good Friday to the feast of Easter: Guess what! Christ is risen! Let’s party!
I’m guessing there was candy involved in that first Easter celebration. Maybe something with dates? How about Turkish delight? That’s been around for thousands of years. I’m convinced that the disciples and other followers would have been so filled with joy that they would have feasted and partied like crazy. Shouldn’t we?
You bet! So break out the candy. Eat until your tummy hurts. Hide Easter eggs for the kiddies. Go see the movie “Hop,” even. Celebrate in a 1,001 different ways the joy of Jesus’ eternal love for us. But do yourself a favor: Be intentionally mindful of the reason for the party. It’s not just an excuse for fun. It’s the ultimate victory over the forces of darkness and death!
So, enjoy your Cadbury Crème Egg. Have half-a-dozen if you feel so inclined. Just remember, Christ may later ask you to work off those calories. That’s the part that’s called discipleship.
— Send e-mail to Mitch Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Gary O’Flannagan, pastor, Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church, 802 W. 22nd St.:
Usually at a religious holiday season Christians get put down for co-opting a pagan holiday but at Easter our American culture has co-opted the Resurrection of Jesus Christ into an opportunity for commercialism.
Candy Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies and multi-colored jelly beans in truth were never intended to be reminders of Easter. Yes, they’re tasty and it can be a lot of fun to hide and then go find them, but they have nothing to do with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all we’re talking about the greatest moment in history, the moment when Jesus Christ rose up from the grave.
How can anything sugary and sticky like a marshmallow rabbit compete with the defeat of sin and death by the son of God? Let’s be clear, Easter is not a day that should simply pass us by, it’s a day to stop and contemplate the historical fact that our access to God has been made possible through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the spirit.” 1Peter 3:18 (NIV)
In the early Christian church, the preacher would stand before the congregation on Resurrection Sunday and proclaim, “He is risen,” the congregation would then respond with great joy, “He is risen indeed.” Happy Easter and God bless you on this greatest of days.
— Send e-mail to Gary O’Flannagan at email@example.com.