Hollow chocolate bunnies, Cadbury creme eggs, baskets full of marshmallow chicks, delicious jellybeans and those plastic bags shaped like carrots stuffed with orange candy. You know what I am talking about. The wave of Easter emotions that children wrestle with on Saturday night knowing that the sooner they go to bed the sooner they get an Easter basket left by a bunny and the sooner they can go hunt for the rabbit’s eggs left behind (never mind the logic behind all of that!). Parents sometimes leave a nice Easter card that says nothing of value but usually showcases a cute little ducky and a snugly baby rabbit in various shades of pastels. Some parents feel really generous, so they may leave a five dollar bill in the crease of the card.
Have you thought about this event? It is coming soon, in three Sundays it will be here.
Skip over the disappointment of a hollow chocolate bunny, I think we all have wished it to be solid. As children, we used to wake up with great anxiety for our Easter basket lined with fake grass and filled with sugar. We used to stand eagerly by the door waiting for the signal to rush into the yard to find those eggs hidden so cleverly by the rabbit. And sometimes we would get a card, but we never cared about that, we wanted the money. As though our efforts of sleeping through the night, finding all of the eggs left by the bunny, and eating more sugar than any child should, we get a monetary reward. What?!
As adults we concern ourselves with meaningless preparation. Three children, three baskets. Check. Equal amounts of candy and green plastic grass for each? Check. Are all the eggs filled? Hidden? Check and check. Can the number of eggs be divided by three? Check. Is the house clean for guests? Check. Do we have everything from the grocery store? Check. Is there enough seating for family on Sunday afternoon? Check. Is the roast in the oven on time? Check. Is the Bible forgotten? Check.
Then we go to church.
Where we hear something like this (I hope),
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 8 And they remembered His words, 9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.” Luke 24: 1-9
This world changing account is glazed over by many in the pews as we ponder whether everything is prepared for family members coming over for Easter brunch. We hope so-and-so will be there and so-and-so won’t. We wonder about the roast in the oven, if the bathrooms are clean, if there will be enough parking in the driveway, if there will be enough food. Did we get enough baskets for the grand kids? Will everyone get a card? Did we put five dollars in each card? What have we forgotten? Amen. Then we are out the door not having time to fellowship with those around us in God’s house, because we have too much to do.
And we have lost the importance of the greatest day in the history of the world.
We have replaced the risen Lord with a fluffy bunny. We have replaced the empty tomb with a cheap plastic basket. We have replaced the eternal glories of resurrection with sugar-buzzes and egg hunts. We have replaced the cross with Hallmark cards. We have been swallowed up by the culture when we should be shouting praise to our God.
Author Steven James writes,
“The bunny has upstaged the rabbi and stolen the show. The search for plastic eggs has replaced the search for a missing body. Easter has evolved into just another nice, harmless, spineless, little holiday with the climax being a bunch of snot-nosed kids fighting over a piece of chocolate, when it’s supposed to be about a wrestling match between life and death, a cosmic struggle between good and evil.
Easter has lots of lilies and spring hats and piles of fake, green, curly plastic grass stuff, but none of that has anything to do with the raw reality of a bloody cross and the final hope of an empty tomb…” Story, 17-18.
Rather than spending the week with our loved ones preparing our hearts and minds for the greatest truth in all the world, we succumb to sugar. Instead of teaching our children about the glories of a crucified and risen Lord, we rush to the mall to get photos with The Bunny. Instead of pastors preparing to let the Holy Spirit loose upon the most attended Sunday in the year through the faithful preaching of God’s Word, they toe the line and mention bunnies, eggs, tickling the ears of those they will see at Christmas, and only give a sideways glance at the One who deserves all worship and obedience. Instead of church programs for children being bound up in the matchless hope of resurrection our children will come home with coloring pages of broken eggs revealing little ducks.
Satan has slithered his way in and we have let him.