The Easter bunny, Easter eggs or an Easter bonnet parade (popular in the USA) all point us towards spring and new life.
That’s a start to understanding Easter because it reminds us of the earth’s rhythms and the obligation to respect this planet as our temporary home in this life.
The Easter bunny tradition comes from Germany. It imagines the bunny bringing children their Easter egg.
But it’s more than sentimentality.
Rabbits are known for breeding in large number and the Easter bunny is a symbol of the earth’s fertility, as is the egg itself.
The Easter bonnet has an equally important environmental significance.
It’s origins come from the tradition of doing up an old hat to give it new life.
This is a subtle challenge to our disposable culture; it says that old clothes can be transformed and you can wear them with pride.
As a Christian I want these aspects of our celebration of Easter to be even more exciting, amazing, personal and real.
And here is how we do it.
Have you ever seen a dead body? There is something real about it that stops us in our tracks because it reminds us that one day each of us will die.
Easter is about this reality.
It observes the exceptional cruelty of the execution of Jesus Christ on the cross on Good Friday.
That was real.
Easter Sunday celebrates his rising from the dead, his being seen and speaking with his friends.
Jesus sharing a meal with them, knowing their names, talking about their future.
This was not the resuscitation of a corpse; it was an encounter with the reality of life as God intends it to be.
The God whose creative love made this amazing planet and universe and you and me, reveals an even greater love and creativity that defeats the cruelty, evil and fear of death.
The bunny, the egg and the bonnet are fun.
Easter is the richer celebration and promise of the unimaginatively fertile reality of life beyond the grave, life with God, clothed in the beauty of perfection.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday
This week on Friday Christians across Sussex and around the world will be remembering the day that Jesus died on the cross. A number of churches and churches together are organising dramatic re-enactments of the events of that day, with an invitation to explore what happened and why Jesus died. Other churches will hold reflective services focussed on the cross and many other events. Then, on Easter Sunday, there is a day of great celebration. Easter offers an opportunity for anyone and everyone to discover why it is that Christians believe in this most extraordinary story of new life and new hope. You would be most welcome to join in. A helpful resource if you’d like to know more about what’s on in your area is https://www.achurchnearyou.com/
Family Activities at Chichester Cathedral
On Friday 21st April, from 10am – 3pm Chichester Cathedral is hosting a Family Activity: ‘Weird and Wonderful!’ Children can come along to make their own monster mask or weird creature. There’s also a chance to find out about weird and wonderful things in the Cathedral by following a trail before collecting a prize from the shop. The cost is £2.50 per child. There’s no need to book, you can just drop in.