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Apologies To The Bunny

Starting in the middle of this month a variety of municipalities, restaurants and other shops were advertising that people could come over for a photo with the Easter Bunny. I always found it odd that people didn’t wait til Easter – a celebration that lasts 50 days. But I suspect that the “breakfasts with Santa” in December primed the early visits with Mr. Rabbit.
I also suspect that the Easter Bunny confuses non-Christians. As one Jewish friend of mine asked, “I thought your Easter was about Jesus rising from the dead. What does the bunny have to do with that?”
And, with all respects to Sir Cottontail, actually nothing! The bunny-thing is tied into the new life of Spring. Lots of bunnies start appearing in our suburban yards. And while Easter is indeed a time for new life, it’s not about hare-raising.
In fact for Christians, Easter is the most important feast of the year. While the real meaning of Christmas can be obscured by marketing and the push to buy stuff, Easter is really the more significant moment in our faith history. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. And who of us came into the world without being born? Being born isn’t the remarkable thing. But rising from the dead? Well that’s something earth shattering!
Christians believe that Jesus, after being horribly tortured to death by Roman crucifixion, died and was buried. His disciples scattered out of fear. But since Jesus was not only human like us, but also the presence of God in the world, he couldn’t stay dead. So he is raised and appears to his disciples to offer them peace, reconciliation, healing and a mission.
The mission was to let everyone know that eternal life is not a fantasy, but it is a real outcome for us. Following Jesus is the way to the new life that we encounter after death. Where Jesus went, we can follow.
This is indeed good news for anyone who is having their own form of crucifixion – whether it be a minor hurdle or a significant hurt. We are assured that our illnesses, our broken relationships, our failed endeavors, etc. are not the end of the story. There is new life ahead. Often we glimpse and experience it here and now. But sometimes we need faith that something better lies ahead.
So while Easter is a chance to market chocolate bunnies and Peeps and jelly beans, it is profoundly more important that increasing our sugar intake. While there’s nothing wrong with searching for hidden eggs, our real search over the fifty days of the Easter season ought to be about seeking where God is affirming our lives and offering us new opportunities to grow in love, in hope and in faith.

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By Cory Olsen – April 15, 2024

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