I am sitting here thinking about the Easter season. I spent a few moments in a local dollar store looking for plastic eggs. I intend to use them in a way which should surprise most of the kids, hopefully impressing upon them the pathos of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they went to Jesus’s tomb on that third day. More on that later in the weekend.
While at the dollar store I browsed some of the other shelves as well. Chocolate or marshmallow bunnies? You make the call. They even had chocolate crosses. How ironic. They have taken a symbol of torture, humiliation and crucifixion–the means by which Jesus Christ became the propitiation for our sins–and turned it into a edible commodity. I don’t know whether to feel ill at the crass consumerism, ashamed that for a moment I wondered how it might taste (and, to my chagrin, whether they had more in the back which I could purchase for the kids–only $1 each, what a deal!), or simply a bit more spiritually aware that we live in a world which craves spiritual encounters, yet completely misunderstands the significance of the cross. Look at it this way: How many of us would consider eating a chocolate electric chair? Or maybe a marshmallow syringe with pink frilly decor set against a baby blue background? Sound ridiculous? I agree.
Please don’t misunderstand. I love a good easter egg/chocolate bunny hunt as much as the next chubby, multiple-chinned, middle-aged, grey-haired guy. So don’t feel guilted into not having yours. However, I wonder if in our celebrations and all the preparations they entail we might be at risk of missing the entire point? If we are to pass on to the next generation the significance of Resurrection Sunday, what will we choose to experience with them? How will we impress on them the glorious power and majesty of our risen Savior? How will we shed light on the suffering and death which he chose to endure on our behalf, on the behalf of the world? How will we convince them that he rose again bodily?
Ours is a sobering responsibility, children’s ministry leaders, parents, and caring adults all. The burden of accountability rests on our shoulders to inculcate into the next generation the reality of Jesus’s death and resurrection and all that it implies for us. Let’s not let an overemphasis on what is secondary overshadow the priority of the cross in exploring with children the real meaning of Easter.