Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter: Mixed Messages

An elderly couple in my neighborhood decorated the front of their home in mixed messages. They decked out a bush in plastic eggs the colors of girly Easter dresses. Then threw in the Duke pennant.

The eggs reminded me of a statue of Artemis  a second century goddess. Note that her chest is covered in what look like  grotesque eggs. 

My brain fired a synapse, a connection,  between the plastic eggs, our crazy Easter egg fad and Artemis. All are symbols of new life and part of Iranian celebrations of the spring equinox. It's interesting how Christianity reached into the existing cultures to make connections with people around their important observances-- the winter solstice (Christmas), and All Hallows Eve (eve of All Saints Day, Nov.1) which probably came from a Celtic festival. 

I wonder if it was an early version of being "relevant." It seems to me that the pagan influences have more derailed Christianity than made it compelling. There's no way that kids chasing around after plastic eggs point me to the central issue of Easter--Christ's death and resurrection. 

I choose to separate the secular from the sacred as much as possible. I quit giving our girls Easter baskets (which they still lament) and made a lamb cake instead. It never really looked like a lamb and ended up being more of a bad joke. 

This year I borrowed a Central American tradition of cascarones (hollowed eggs colored  filled with confetti) for the kids to enjoy in their before-Easter celebration. They can enjoy then twice. First in the making and second smashing them on their cousins' heads.  Thus the silliness won't completely overshadow the sacred.

Tonight, I am grateful that our church has decided to recognize Christ's suffering and crucifixion in a Maundy Thursday service.  The kids will chase eggs on Saturday. Then we'll come together on Sunday to remind ourselves what's really worth celebrating. 

Happy Easter! He is risen! 

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