The internet is all a twitter just now over the apparent reluctance of certain confectionary companies to put the word Easter on their chocolate eggs. Even the Prime Minister has weighed in over it much to the surprise of some who feel that there are much more pressing issues on which they feel she should be commenting. Of course for some it is horrifying as it is further evidence of the erosion of Christian influence and values in society while for others it is much ado about nothing. The interesting thing is that someone who considers themselves a humanist even weighed in one the debate in the newspaper saying that they thought the word Easter should remain because of the undoubted influence that the Easter story has had on society and culture over the centuries and they feel that the story should be retold to our children. However she is very conflicted over whether the brutal events of Good Friday should be mentioned. She realises that to tell the Easter story without the brutal events of Good Friday is to short-change people, but she also recoils at the thought of having to tell the story.
This is very typical of today’s mindset, a mindset that was highlighted by a quote I saw yesterday which said, Lukewarm people do not want to be saved from their sin, they want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. It will also be highlighted by the difference in numbers between Friday’s Good Friday service and Sunday’s Easter celebration. There will be easily three times as many people in church on Sunday than on Friday. Give us the adulation of Palm Sunday and the Celebration of Easter morning, but please do not force us to consider the messy, upsetting part in the middle. Yet without Good Friday Easter has no meaning, without Good Friday, Easter has no hope, without Good Friday we of all people are to be most pitied.
It is not up to a confectioner to remind people of the reason for the season, it is up to us to tell the story and the whole story. It is up to us to remind people that Good Friday is crucial to Easter Sunday, it is up to us to remind people that hope and new life is more than just a promise of spring, it is the very essence of a life in Jesus Christ who died our death that we might know his life.