There was quite a fuss the other week when the National Trust was condemned for taking references to ‘Easter’ out of its publicity for a chocolate egg hunt. This led to angry responses from some in the church and from politicians, including the Prime Minster.
It turned out that the National Trust had done no such thing and that all those who had got so cross had to wipe the chocolate egg off their faces. It was a reminder that we shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions and condemn.
The thing is, even if the story had been true, did it actually matter? I mean, I hate to break it to you, but there is no reference in the Bible to chocolate eggs or generous bunny rabbits.
I fear that what the Prime Minster and others were actually getting wound up about was the thought that the National Trust might have been airbrushing out something comfortable and traditional. And given that we are turning the clock back to the early 1970s with Brexit (or indeed the 1580s if we do end up declaring war on Spain), then nostalgia is most definitely the mood of the moment.
I’m a Christian and I am cool with you eating eggs at this time of year if you want to. I will probably have some myself.
But it isn’t what Easter is about.
Easter is about celebrating Jesus’ death for all humankind – a death he went to, not begrudgingly or reluctantly, but willingly and with great passion. It was the mission of his life to make this selfless, complete sacrifice for others, and it is that which Christians across Britain and the world will mark and remember this Sunday.
Is it traditional to celebrate that? Well, maybe for some. But even for those of us who are Christians, we can do our own airbrushing of the story and allow it to become anaemic.
Nostalgia and nationalism have become the fuel for an aggressive and irrational brand of politics that is the opposite of what Liberals stand for. I don’t want the Christian message to be stolen by the nostalgic nationalists, just as no Liberal should seek to appropriate Jesus for their own purposes either. But the Easter message is one of internationalism, if you like – Jesus died for you no matter who you are or where you are from. And the Easter message is most definitely not about comfortable nostalgia, it is radical and disturbing. People do not traditionally willingly exchange riches, glory and comfort for poverty, shame and pain – but that is what we see in the Easter story.
Christmas is cute and cosy, it’s about a baby. Easter is about the death that the same baby would grow up to suffer. It’s much more grim, no wonder people choose to displace it with chocolate.
But it wasn’t the end of the story. The resurrection means that this death wasn’t in vain – it’s the ultimate vindication which brings forgiveness. That’s worth celebrating.
So, whatever you are doing this weekend, and whoever you are spending it with, I do hope you have a wonderful time – Happy Easter.
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- Soft Brexit Tory MPs who sign up for a hard Brexit manifesto will be responsible for an historic mistake (Paul Walter)
- I hope the Russians love their children too (Edward Crabtree)
- Grasping the cross party nettle (Chris Bowers)
- Lib Dems select Sarah Lowes as prospective candidate in Speaker's constituency
- Labour still minus a candidate for #Hastings #StLeonards and #Rye as General Election looms!
- North Woolwich to Palace Gates
- Leicester Tories to target Liz Kendall (with swords and sandals)
- New LED lights throughout Gunthorpe by end of February 2018
- Flying Scotsman – Past, present and future on the East Coast Main Line
- Former transport minister Norman Baker has his own bus company
- Elections 2017
- 2017 General Election Diary day 5: Whatever you say, it's wrong
- Sunday reading
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