by Mike Pyatt
A vintage photo from Easter of yesteryear would reveal boys dressed in their finest, donned in a bow tie, sport coat, polished shoes, white shirt, and ill-fitting brimmed hat. It was common place back then for most kids in the neighborhood to dress up for Easter. Young girls wore their best dress, with crinoline underneath, a petticoat like material stuffed under her dress to make it puff out, with a pair of lace white socks, that didn’t do much for skinny legs and knobby knees, donned in her Easter bonnet. A sight ready for the rotogravure.
Parents colored hard-boiled eggs for their offspring, and hid them in the yard. The neighborhood dog feasted upon them for weeks thereafter, since no one counted how many they’d hidden. Many went to church that day. Some were secular before it was fashionable, and refrained. Easter baskets were stuffed with colored eggs, faux peeps, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and plastic eggs with a nickel or dime inside (That was a pre-inflationary nickel or dime.) What a treat. For many, Easter was all that stuff. It never occurred to some to link Easter and church. All dressed up with no place to go.
Absent the benefit of a calendar, how would one know it’s Easter time? Today, one need only to scan the landscape of our neighborhoods where houses, buildings, trees, yards and fences are adorned with plastic eggs of all sizes, cardboard ducks, and bunnies that reflect the dominant culture at this Easter season. At virtually every retailer, the purveyors of all things chocolate, we find bunnies, ducks, plastic eggs, jelly beans, and the not-so-real little yellow peeps that line the isles to usher in the Easter season, doubling as fodder for the 90% off sale isle, post Easter.
The White House has been in the “Easter Egg Roll & Hunt” business since 1878. No doubt there’ll be thousands of eggs hidden on three floors of the President’s digs this year, with a guest appearance by the Easter Bunny, and more than 30,000 visitors from nearly every state, and D.C. Many trendy churches aren’t far behind the fray, with a stated “higher purpose” of course. Wyoming’s Governor Mead will follow suit on a slightly smaller scale at the Cheyenne mansion. President Trump may decorate Mar-a-Lago for his grandchildren’s Easter frolicking.
This faux “Easter menagerie” has in recent years, in our progressively secular society, cast an ominous shadow over the watershed event of history-the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. That historical fact may shock the system of the past three generations of kids and adults, reared on the pervasive, Cadbury Bunny philosophy. Many have exchanged the “steak” of the Biblical Easter story for the “porridge” of the Easter Bunny. The inevitable clash of the temporal with the eternal.
Nationwide, many schools have exchanged “Good Friday” for a “professional development day.” Teachers are gone: kid’s are off. They’ve trivialized one of the defining events of history to be politically correct. One teacher commented, “We know better-the board and administration doesn’t want to offend anyone.” Unfortunately, most students haven’t a clue what day it is. And why? Ask one.
A radical unmasking is required to separate the social aspect of the Easter bunny from the theological realm, to unveil the “best kept” secret of Easter. Absent the reintroduction of what was once the central motif of the early disciples, and another two millennia, we risk the loss of another generation to the “Easter bunny” that will be transmitted like a cholera epidemic to future generations. Those undiscovered addled eggs will be less perfidious than the long term erosion of Biblical Easter.
The birth of the church is inexplicable without this event, “On the third day.” A fact so well etched in history, that only the staunchest agnostic or atheist would dare deny. To them and other Naturalists, the fact of the Resurrection is an indigestible root. Jesus staked His entire reputation as a teacher of the Truth upon the prediction that He would rise from the grave. Over the centuries various theories by naysayer and knave alike have been foisted upon history to explain away the Resurrection. Those theories are harder to digest than the Biblical account itself. And for the remnant who believe that Easter is more than bunnies or Spring awakening, it’s proof that everlasting life and joy can be ours.
It’s widely reported that at the core of many attempted suicides is the absolute loss of hope. Easter brings that renewed hope that is absent in other fallacious and fleeting sophistries. Enduring the cross, He arose victorious over death and the sludge of the Fall. If one was a witness to his vicarious death on the cross, one could’ve run one’s finger over that rugged cross, and winced at a splintered finger. Or three days later, one could’ve gazed into that history altering, empty tomb. It was that real. Both events punctuated history in space and time.
The Christmas story reminds us that, “There was no room for Him in the inn.” Now He’s crowded out by the Easter Bunny. “No!” It’s not Peter Cottontail’s fault. Let him hop down his bunny trail. It’s those who’ve failed to set forth the case of the Truth of the Biblical Resurrection story. C.S Lewis rightly observed, “Something perfectly new in history of the Universe happened. Christ had defeated death.” Some are willingly misguided. Others arrogantly dismiss the truth. What about your children, or grandchildren? What have they heard? What have you told them? Give them something this year that’ll outlast Cadbury chocolate or an Easter basket.
Let’s proclaim “He’s Risen!” as Christians have for centuries. Celebrate the empty tomb this year. When a culture jettisons its foundational moorings, substance is supplanted by shadow. If your heart’s unstirred, check your pulse. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org