Q: What do Christians celebrate on Easter Sunday?
A: (1) Chocolate
(2) When he rowed into Jerusalem waving palm trees
The above true children’s responses to a recent survey by the Jerusalem Trust would be funny if they weren’t so scary! But it’s not just our under 14s who have some wacky theology. Last Easter, Somerfield’s PR team had egg all over their faces in its attempt to sell more chocolate eggs.
The major supermarket said us consumers were, “set to spend a massive £520 million on Easter eggs this year — but many young people don’t even know what Easter’s all about. Brits will on average be enjoying over 3.5 eggs each over the Easter weekend alone, but over a quarter don’t know why handing them out symbolises the birth of Jesus. . . .”
An amended version changed this to the “rebirth” of Christ. Finally, a third press release accepted Church teaching that Easter celebrated the resurrection of Christ.
We can leave the hand- wringers in our wake as they lament the death of Christian Britain, while we seize this tremendous opportunity to set the record straight with our family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
A couple of years ago, my son and I were driving past our local Christian bookshop, when we saw this fantastic Easter poster, so good I wanted to dash back and barter with them for it! It featured a hoard of vacant, pastel coloured Duracell- type bunnies thronging round the cross, the bigger ones almost obscuring it. Underneath the slogan read, “Don’t let the bunnies hide the true meaning of Easter!”
That phrase has really stuck with me as, with my friends and small group, we seek to work out how best to reach others with the message of the cross at our most important festival.
Perhaps you have seen earlier Activate articles on reaching people in our workplace, school place and neighbourhoods? Many of these ideas can be used or adapted in the context of Easter.
In the workplace- how about taking in some Easter- themed baking, or just some hot cross buns (from Somerfield, bless ’em?!) if your inner domestic goddess has deserted you? Cookware shops have a variety of Easter- shaped cutters to make some lovely spiced biscuits (very easy), or that childhood favourite, the Easter nest (shredded wheat or cornflakes in chocolate, with a couple of speckled choccy eggs in the middle.) These went down very well in my workplace last year and brought waves of nostalgia to some.
Among your neighbours, how about a pancake party to start the season off? My friends Dave and Kate will be inviting whole roads around the suburb they live to pop round with their children, another neighbour and a filling or something to drink again this year, while flipping madness descends on their kitchen! Apparently even that is a great ice- breaker and chance for chatting.
Other mums I know whose focus is more on the school place will be inviting families their kids have become friendly with over after school for a fun- filled (or chocolate sauce filled) tea time, offering ready- made or pre- prepared pancakes to save stress with sweet and savoury fillings. This was really well received last year and created a great opportunity to deepen those relationships during a follow-up craft event before Holy Week.
My own experience with school mums has been really positive. Last year, my friend Geraldine and I organised a really well- attended “New life” style and colour evening as a PTA fundraiser, and related it to the new life Jesus brings, complete with eggs to take home. This year we’re thinking of one of Activate’s favourites, a chocolate tasting party for the mums. Or maybe we will have a “Make an Easter basket” event with nests and yummy things to eat after a Friday assembly for the little ones to join in while the mums chat, like the head teacher has offered before?
For your families, think about how many texts you received wishing you a happy Christmas or new year. Now, how many folk texted you about Easter? I got none last year, but I texted loads of people to say “Happy Easter- Christ has risen today. Hallelujah!” (and had a really favourable response!)
Ideas by Faye Smith, from an earlier article in the Activate magazine.