22 March 2010

Ain't That America

So I was in Target the other day, and I decided to look at their giant holiday candy section, newly set up for Easter, the second biggest candy holiday after Halloween. I saw this, and I wasn't sure what to think:

I'm probably being too uptight about this, but when I think about Easter as the crown jewel of God's work in Christ, I just wonder why, of all things to turn into chocolate and eat, the cross would be the first choice of religious confectioners and chocolate icon eaters. Does it not just seem a strange mix of the sublime (the cross) and the ridiculous (chocolate as a way to remember the cross)? Then again, it's no surprise that America would lead the way in candy-izing just about anything, including the ultimate symbol of shame, dread, torture, and pain: Roman crucifixion. One hundred years from now, will there be chocolate electric chairs or chocolate guillotines?

The cross is God's supreme act of love and wrath, where Jesus died for our sins in our place, receiving what we deserve so that he can give us what he alone deserves: a blameless standing before God. It's a message that doesn't make sense to some, and a message that some believe evangelical Christians emphasize too much (see, for example, Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy, 45-50, 64, 86). I would remind such brethren of Jesus' own words: "the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). Never mind the fact that the prophets of old prophesied that Jesus "had to suffer these things" before he could "enter his glory" (Luke 24:26). It is right to emphasize Jesus' death and resurrection because the rest of the New Testament does, as do many prophecies from the Old Testament.

This is what I believe about Easter: that Jesus' resurrection from the dead is the pivotal event in all of history, without which there is no hope for this life, no reason to be good, no optimism at funerals, and no chance of our own resurrection and glorification (see 1 Corinthians 15). Somehow, a chocolate cross just doesn't seem right in this context.

Now a chocolate empty tomb, now that would be sweet.

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