The one thing the shops weren’t short of this year was Easter eggs. We have no fruit or veg in our house (a badly timed trip to Asda) but we do have plenty of Easter eggs. In fact, I’m pretty sure right now that I’m dehydrated from eating too much chocolate yesterday, I have a post Easter egg hangover!
In the Christian tradition, Easter eggs are meant to remind us of the tomb of Jesus, which when you think about it, is a bit of weird thing to craft chocolate into and then feast upon. I suppose, we’re particularly meant to be remembering the stone being rolled away and the tomb being found empty, so more symbols of the resurrection rather than of death, but still a little strange!
Easter eggs remind me of a little less known Easter story that’s hidden with the main narrative; one that always strikes me as particularly beautiful, the story of a secret disciple called Joseph of Arimathea.
Joseph was a wealthy, influential man whose position in society meant that he had to keep quiet about being a Jesus follower, but after Jesus’ death Joseph comes out of the shadows and does something significant. Joseph donates his own, empty tomb (clearly funeral planning isn’t a new thing), he goes to the cross and with the help of another disciple, he gathers Jesus’ limp body into his arms, takes Jesus to his empty tomb and lays the body of his Lord to rest.
It’s an act of loving kindness, done with courage, with cost (wealth and social standing) and done when no appreciation can be shown in return. Joseph presumably doesn’t know how the story is going to end; I would imagine resurrection was a plot twist he hadn’t guessed and yet he does these acts of kindness anyway, out of love.
So all around Britain we currently have hundreds of thousands of little chocolate tombs based on the one gifted to Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea. As I eat my Easter egg (Cadbury’s crunchy) I’m challenged to consider how I might choose to act in difficult times. Sometimes it’s tempting to give in to fear, to hide from the ugliness of life or to retract from doing good, but the secret disciple of Jesus inspires me to try to rise up out of any darkness and to shine some light. If there’s one thing Easter shows us, it’s that darkness cannot extinguish light; in the end, it’s love that has the real power for lasting change.
‘The Light Shines in the Darkness
And the darkness has not overcome it’
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.