Oh Happy Day! It’s Easter! It’s arguably the most important day of the Christian Year (besides Stewardship Sunday, of course), and the story we celebrate is the most profound of our tradition.
Because this story brings such good news, and because the miracle of modern technology (and the liability of old age) can hamper the ability to remember the text for personal devotion and for sharing with others (the most important thing and commanded by scripture), I suggest we take a page out of the Jewish Passover Seder handbook and, essentially, eat our way through the Easter story.
Our Jewish brothers and sisters remember their most sacred saga of Hebrew liberation from oppressive slavery and journey through the wilderness with God and Moses en route to the Promised Land by consuming such symbolic foods as eggs, horseradish, and lamb shanks. It’s a fabulous, fun and fruitful endeavor, as the body will remember things in ways that the mind cannot.
In the spirit of ecumenism and universal love (and foodie-ism), I suggest we do the same for our Easter story. Let the candy of Easter be our guide! And theologically apropos Sunday snack!
Get out your haul and here we go!
It was early Easter morning, before the sun was even up. Jesus’ followers were so distraught; their LORD and Savior had been brutally executed on the cross and they didn’t know what they would do without him. They were a basket case.
That’s why our Easter candy comes in a basket.
Even though He said he would rise in three days, they couldn't help but mourn his death. They just couldn't shake this false assumption as they walked through the grass.
That’s why the grass in our Easter basket is fake. And there is a lot of it.
But once the mourners came to the tomb, what do you think they discovered? It was EMPTY!
That’s why a hollow Easter bunny is a must.
Yes, it was totally empty, except for an angel who was DAZZLING WHITE! And the people were amazed! The angel said "He is risen!" out of a mouth that was DAZZLING WHITE!
That's why we always want some of these in our basket. To make our mouths as white as that angel's.
And to help us remember what that angel said, it's always good to have a package of these.
"He has Riesen!" I know this sounds a little funny, but it also helps us remember that the people first telling this story were Galileans, and they were known for their funny accent.
Now some of the people at the tomb were women who had come to anoint his body with oils and spices.
That’s why we want to include spiced jelly beans in our basket (even if they don’t taste all that good).
The angel told the followers to go out and tell others that Jesus had risen. Or Riesen. But they were afraid to do this, because others would think they were crazy. Fruity!
So we have lots of fruity jelly beans in our basket, too.
And Snickers products. No one wanted to be laughed at for sharing the good news, even though they were.
And then a very special woman showed up at the tomb. She had heard the tomb was empty and was afraid Jesus' body had actually been stolen. Her name was Mary Magdalene.
That’s why Easter always includes M&M’s.
As Mary wept, completely beside herself, Jesus, risen from the dead, showed up! He said Mary's name and she suddenly stopped crying and in total joy ran up to him to hug him! But Jesus said, “Do not hold onto me, because I have not ascended to the Father. To the One who put me on the cross and is the reason we have Easter in the first place. My Pa!
That’s why we always have eggs in our basket that are dyed by Paas. We remember that Easter is ultimately about HIM!
Jesus continued, "But when I ascend to Heaven, you will feel my presence, even though I will be an invisible Spirit. How can that be? But it's the best of both worlds.
That’s why we always also want to have a peanut butter and chocolate egg in our Easter stash. It's the two best tastes ever ever, brought perfectly together.
And then Jesus said the best news ever: "If you believe and let me live in you now that I have risen from the dead, you will live forever."
Just. Like. PEEPS! The Eternal Candy!
"Go, spread the good news!" said Jesus. "Spread it like...jelly!'
So lots and lots of jelly beans to help us remember that.
"Tell everyone that I am a Lifesaver."
"And my story is so good, you'll want to hear it over and over again -- all the wonderful things that happened after God rolled away the stone! Be grateful for all the wonderful things that help us remember what happened after God rolled away the stone -- our 'Roll-Aids'! "
And that is why Jesus wants us to be sure and have plenty of Rolaids on hand at Easter. We all sure need 'em!!
This is a version of a Children's Sermon I did several years ago at the First United Methodist Church in Appleton, Wisconsin. This blog post is dedicated to them.
Happy Easter everybody! Burp!!