Skip to main content

It's Easter in America

I just interviewed 10 children. And, all 10 of them agreed: Easter is about ... (drum roll) ... candy!

That's right. The high point in the Christian calendar has officially been overrun and co-opted by Mars Candy Corporation.

This all began when I started talking to Ms. Juliette January, the director of our daycare who was born in the Caribbean. She was telling me how much more Easter was recognized and celebrated in her native land: Good Friday and the Monday following Easter were both recognized as national holidays, bars and stores were closed, families would gather for large meals celebrating the ancient story.

But what did Juliette discover when she came to the United States? Answer: bunny rabbits, candy galore and - for good measure - chocolate bunny rabbits. She could not believe what she saw.

I knew she was right. But, I couldn't resist polling the kids. One by one, I asked them, "When I say the word 'Easter', what do you think about?" And, one by one, the looked at me with certainty and a glimmer of delight in their eyes. "Candy!" one girl shouted. "Jelly beans!" came another answer. And over and over again, I heard about the sure promise of sugar in all its glorious forms: chocolate, crystallized, gummy-nated. To these children, the first thing they associate "Easter" with is confections of delight that will last them maybe a week ... maybe.

There's more. I pressed further, asking them, "What else do you think about?" The answers varied this time. One girl had been promised a new Hanna Montana video, another said "eggs".

I even tried to get the children to see the symbolism of the egg ... "Okay, think about it ... what comes out of an egg?" I was hoping for "baby chickens" or "chicks". I got: "candy!" Again with the candy! But, I persisted: "No, no ... listen, out of an egg comes a new life ... a baby chick ... who else comes to life on Easter?" Thankfully, I did not get, "The Easter Bunny." But, unfortunately, they did not respond at all.

Now, let me make myself clear. I am not holding the kids in judgment. I don't blame them at all, in fact. But, I do think this poll sheds some light on us - and I mean "us" as in Americans who call themselves Christians.

And, lest you think I'm being a zealot, let me say that I too was raised on the gospel of Hershey's. I too connect Easter with mounds of chocolate. I celebrated many Easters much more pleased with the sure promise of chocolate than the abstract promise of forgiveness of my sins and new life.

I'm also sure someone way, way back had nothing but good intentions and decided to connect the sweetness of Jesus' resurrection with cocoa, cream and sugar ... but the connection has been severed.

But, thankfully, there are those who still hold on to the true sweetness of Easter. Over the years other people have introduced me to other gospel in Easter ... the Gospel: That Jesus Christ "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty ..."

We have been given an awesome responsibility: to raise our children with knowledge of God's works of salvation. We have been commanded to do this (Deut. 6). And, for a good while, that's what we did as Americans. We passed on our faith - one generation to the next. But, then we begin to assume that since everyone already knew the story we wouldn't have to spend too much time worrying about passing it along. Our kids would get it as easily as they get flouride from the water. It would just happen. And we began focusing on other things to pass on and sell ... like candy bars and even worse things than that. And, lo and behold, we have built whole empires that now compete with the Kingdom of God (if you think I'm going to far, check out Mars' website: www.mars.com)

And after you check that out ... let me ask you this question: "Are we as committed, organized and dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ as Mars Brand foods is to selling candy?" Well, of course not. And, that's partly a good thing. Jesus made sure to say to us that the Kingdom of God won't look like the powerful "kingdoms" (or businesses or brands) of the world (Mark 4:30-32; the parable of the mustard seed).

But, still, it's worth pondering again ... what are we doing to pass along the good news of Easter? Will our children have anything to hang onto after the sugar-high has passed? Do they know there's more than candy? And can we tell them about the sweetness that lasts and leads to eternal life?

Wes

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Acts 3:11-21 - Questions for Reflection & Prayer

This week we continued looking at the story of Peter and John healing a lame man on their way to the Temple (Acts 3).  Indwelled with the Spirit of the Living God, Peter and John are close to the source of all life:  Jesus the Christ.  They are continuing to devote themselves to the habits and practices that will allow the fruits of the Spirit to grow within them, including devoting themselves to times of communal prayer on a daily basis.

Now, the crowds hear this news of the lame man's healing, and they run to see this man and to discover what power or technique has healed the man.  They discover the man standing next to Peter and John and assume that these two are "holy men," something many people were searching for in Jesus' day.  This same search still goes on today.  One way we seek a better life is to seek out celebrities, gurus and human leaders that we can put our faith and hope in.

Question for reflection:  How are we tempted in our culture to put our trust i…

Acts 2:42-47 - Questions for Reflection & Study

This past Sunday, we took a look at Luke's first summary passage in the story of Acts:  chapter 2, verses 42-47.  Here, Luke is presenting a billboard of what the Church looks like at its best.  He is trying to convince Theophilus that Christianity is worth his attention. 

The early Church captures what all of us are looking for, whether we know it or not.  This is a close community that truly cares for one another, where everyone truly is seen as a brother and sister, and where no one person is considered more or less important as the other.  Needs are being met.  There is joy in their fellowship. 

Take a moment to think about a time in your life when you experienced the joy and blessing of a deep, loving community?  Where was it, and what made this community so different?  What role did you play in this community?
Luke tells us the disciples "devoted themselves" to four essential practices.  The Greek word for "devoted" is one that is often used in the context…

Acts 5:1-11 - Questions for reflection & prayer

This past Sunday we looked at one of the more unsettling stories in the Book of Acts:  the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.  As shared by Luke, this couple sold a piece of land and then proceeded to bring only a portion of the profit to the apostles - laying it at their feet for the good of the community.  However, what appeared to be their grave mistake (pun intended) was their collusion in claiming to have brought all the proceeds to the apostles when - in fact - they were keeping some back for themselves.  Peter announces first to Ananias the Lord's judgment, followed by a similar verdict being handed down to Sapphira a short time later.

Seen by itself, this is a strange story, but it begins to make more sense when we see it as "part of the whole."  The story of Ananias and Sapphira comes right after we hear once again of the community's unity and generosity, including their willingness to share their own goods and resources to take care of one another (ch. 4).  Th…