The Bunny is back.
“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!, my three year-old daughter exclaims as I pick her up from school. “What my liefie?” (my love), I enquire with great anticipation. (She is the cutest little princess.).
“The Bunny, the Easter bunny was here, and look!! He gave us Easter eggs!”…. I try to keep a straight and happy face as not to dampen her excitement, but deep down, I am perplexed. For the life of me, I cannot understand why a Christian school would propagate pagan myth and practices.
Not even the casual, standard response of “Ah, it’s just a bunny and some candy” and “The kids love it” or “It is an innocent tradition” can remotely alleviate the turmoil I feel when I consider how we casually propagate, promote and celebrate things that we, as Christians, should have shed with the dawn of Christ.
Given that Jesus appeared in an era steeped in Greek/Roman mythology, we could understand that the contemporary cultures would find it hard to separate from their traditional past. But God, in Christ, released us from the bondage of the myth unto the truth of who and what He really is. Was this not the point of His coming?
If our children came home with little Buddhas, Krishnas or little statues of the ancient Babylonian god Marduk, would that also be ok? Even if it was just ‘innocent’ and ‘fun for the kids’?
But my suspicion is that we accept it because the Church tradition that came before us also accepted it, and on those grounds we are simply happy to continue. We value our tradition very highly in this non-traditional, contemporary culture – more highly than what we should.
“You take things too seriously. Lighten up” – is what I generally get smacked with at this stage. But I have nothing against bunnies or eggs. It’s just that the story of the bunny and the eggs is a completely different story from that of the ‘Lamb slain from the foundations of the cosmos.’ And why it dominates, or should I say, why we allow it to dominate, especially in the sphere of our children during a time when we remember the Crucifixion, is beyond me.
Yet every year, the bunny is back with more eggs. Tables decorated to teach our children about ‘Easter’ (I use the term loosely), are predominately filled with bunnies, bunny footprints, bunny ears & colourful eggs. Oh yes and there is also a cross in the corner.
I am not ceremonially orientated, and rituals & tradition (good or bad) do not hold a special place in my view of God and life. But this little hairy lagomorph bothers me a whole lot.
I think the real issue at stake is not so much the bunny or the eggs, but that we are willing to continue with things that we were set free from. And to me that raises another question: How many other practices and ideas in the Church, do not have their roots in Christ, but in mythical and cultural traditions that distract us from the freedom of the Truth? That is my real concern.
To some degree I consider the bunny a simile for the greater more profound misconceptions about God and His Kingdom that I suspect we still have to deal with as Church. They are furry, cuddly and harmless, until you realise they lay colourful eggs.
I want to leave you with a poem I wrote about a year ago. It is highly offensive, so if you are already disturbed by the contents, press ‘escape’…. now.
Our lagomorph which come at spring-time;
Hallowed be thy eggs divine
Their colours come
their patterns be done,
As in pagan era,
it now is even clearer.
Give us today a blinded eye
and forgive us the distraction of the cross
as we also so embrace our loss;
And lead us not to the truth
but deliver us from discovering our error;
For thine is the holy day, the celebrations and
the reputation of the Passover;
Until hopefully, forever.
May we see clearer as we draw nearer.
In Christ alone.
(On a lighter note: As I am busy finishing off this blog, my son comes running through the front door from school declaring: “The easter bunny came to my school, Dad!” …Sigh)