Easter Day – 17th April 2022 – Rev Alison Way
Isaiah 65:17-end, Luke 24:1-12
As many of us know – I have been a bit of a captive audience in the last few weeks as I haven’t been at all well. As a result, I have consumed some day time telly in a way I wouldn’t usually, which has regularly featured a 30 second advert from one of the supermarkets. It begins well with Isn’t Easter just the best. The first time I saw it – My heart soared at this point, because Easter is absolutely the best and beyond that too. Opening out God’s heart of love for us, the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever – AMEN!
If only this advert had stopped there! However it didn’t – A woman trimming a hedge then asked – What’s so great about Easter? And then from the perspective of this famous supermarket – we get what they think is great! I am going to use their ideas – to crack open the answer to the question – What’s so great about Easter – Because the reasons why Easter is the best can be revealed in this most unlikely source if we open our eyes to them! Showing us the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever – AMEN!
The first image used is of cascading easter eggs like this one. Pouring out of a shed and the words – for starters chocolate is everywhere. Hands up if chocolate is on the agenda for today? Who has given some Easter eggs to other people or is planning to? Who has already had some chocolate this morning? (is Easter day the day to have chocolate for breakfast?)…..
In our commercial world, it would be easy to think that Easter is primarily about chocolate!! Around 14 million easter eggs are purchased in this country each year! This tradition started in this country with decorated ordinary eggs. There are records from the court of Edward 1 in 1290, about him acquiring 450 eggs for the sum of 18 pennies. He then having them gilded with gold leaf and painted to distribute at Easter!!
The use of chocolate for eggs was introduced from Europe by our old friends the Victorians. In the days when Chocolate was something still very expensive. Cocoa had come along way – and a lot of effort was consumed making it egg shaped. The use of chocolate came from the sentiment of offering the best they had to mark Easter
The reason eggs were chosen for Easter can be broadly divided into 3 reasons:-
The first – The egg representing the rebirth of nature – given to mark the start of spring and new life heralding the kingdom in a new way. SO as Christians an egg represents the rebirth of humanity through Jesus resurrection we mark this day
A second alternative is that the egg represents the stone – more convincing without the sparkly wrapper – that was mysteriously rolled away from the tomb entrance, when Jesus rose from the dead. When we tuned into the account in Luke’s gospel reading, which we heard this morning – we find the women as the sun was rising heading to do the important tasks there had not been time to do on Good Friday. The women must have been anxious on their journey to the tomb as to how they were going to roll away the stone – But the job was already done. The way to life in God’s kingdom had been opened out to them and to us.
A third alternative is that breaking open the egg reminds us of the tomb. The tomb the women entered – and encountered the two men in dazzling clothes. Another demonstration of God’s power. This was an important moment – and one where the women pieced together what had happened and it’s significance – it’s glory. The first thing they then did was to head off to share the good news.
So like that we can use Chocolate eggs to answer the question – What’s so great about Easter!
The advert went on to say “you can pick and choose who to invite!” and an exchange about an absent family member ensues. I have to take issue with supermarket thinking here and say that one of the very best things about Easter is that Jesus rising from the dead is for all and for everyone and also forever and ever. For the delight of all people as Isaiah had it. Jesus’ resurrection swept away once and for all any divisions set up through God’s earlier promises and opened the kingdom, the power and the glory to everyone. Not just for now but forever and ever!
The advert goes on to answer the question – what’s so great about Easter – with the weather – glorious in parts. I think we can use this to think about our how our natural world, which played apart in the events of the first Easter Day. How God’s power made things happen we can’t explain – like the stone rolled away and the dazzling angels. How we always mark this festival as Spring is breaking forth in our land! and the wonder of this.
The advert and the answer to the question – What’s so great about Easter – then turns to a mountain of these – hot cross buns. Traditionally in our country these are the fair of Good Friday, but for Easter Day -The bun shows us an empty cross reminding us that death could not contain Jesus or limit him through God’s love for him. As St Paul reminds us – Death has lost its sting and the glory of God is revealed. And in one of our hymns – in this amazing way Endless is the victory thou o’er death has won.
The final thing our supermarkets thinks is great about Easter revolves around the Easter bunny. A man lifting weights surrounded by white rabbits and a woman trimming a rabbit shaped topiary bush! Neither of these work well as a visual to have here, so I have returned to chocolate representations. The history of the Easter Bunny is fundamentally of Christian origins – With the bunny sharing his eggs symbolising us sharing the good news of the first Easter as we saw the women sharing the good news in our gospel. But I think if we use rabbit instead – we can think about some words beginning with R to remind us of what is so important about Easter – like Risen, resurrection and REJOICING!
So to sum up the answer to the question – What’s so great about Easter – that the supermarket posed and all the things we have revealed using their visuals.
That Jesus rising is for everyone and for ever in his kingdom
The power of God over nature, and new life springing around us
The empty cross and power over death
Sharing the good news
Risen – Resurrection – Rejoicing
To finish this day and the power, love and purposes of God for us it demonstrates. All this enables us to say the final line of the Lord’s prayer deep in our hearts and with great confidence. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen
Say that with me – For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995
Songs reproduced under CCL 217043 for St Peter and St Paul’s Church – Wincanton