A u c k l a n d A o t e a r o a N e w Z e a l a n d
a n g l i c a n c h u r c h
Long Live the Easter Bunny (and God)
April 20, 2003
Easter Day Mark 16:1-8
Who could deny that for the child chocolate eggs are the essence of Easter? This is as it should be! Long live the chocolate egg I say. The Easter Bunny, like Santa Claus, is part of the experience for a child of pushing the boundaries of fact and fantasy. I say long live the Easter Bunny.
It starts very early in life, that journey through death and loss. We quickly learn where we can find certainty and where we need faith, where life's struggles begin and where they end.
I remember as a child having an imaginary friend. His name was India. He wore a turban and spoke broken, lyrical English. India was good to me and good for me. He always appeared at the fence in the backyard, as if signifying the boundaries of where my family began and where I moved into independence. He always appeared when I needed him. He always spoke the words I needed to hear. He had no guile, no judgment, perfect wisdom. He was all that you could hope for in an imaginary friend.
The day came when India stopped appearing at the back fence. My loss was immense; nothing in reality could match India. This was my first experience of death.
It stands alongside the day my younger brother came home from hospital and I met him for the first time with great joy as a two year old. These are my two strongest childhood memories; life and death alongside one another. India taught me that hope always begins as a figment of your imagination, then grows like a seed, bearing rich fruits. Hope serves to make reality more fantastic and fantasy more real, growing and building dreams. Easter is in part about the small distance between fact and fantasy.
Since then my life has been much like yours; a series of mountains where death and life mingle sometimes so close together that they are at times unrecognisable and inseparable. My conception of God has died and risen to new life and meaning. My belief in relationships has died and been rebuilt. My belief in myself has been shattered and reconstructed, over and again. My belief in the inherent good of people, alongside the blatant hypocrisy of people has twisted and turned. My lack of trust in institutions and structures has waned and worn.
All of this has sharpened an interest in justice and life lived to the full; resurrection. Easter is in part about the small distance between life and death; even three days.
At Easter we affirm the living God; the God who won't be boxed in a tomb or in human categories; the God who will keep coming back into our lives in the most surprising ways when we least expect it.
At Easter we affirm the living example of Jesus, the hero of non-violent revolution; the God who stands up to injustice and refuses to let evil have the last word.
At Easter we commit to living the way of Jesus, and refusing to give in to violence. While we still have breath, despite all the signs to the contrary, we seek gentle revolutions in our souls and in our world. We seek resurrection. Long live Easter as the gentle revolution of new life.