Over the last week the Church of England and others have got themselves embroiled in a row over Cadbury’s decision to drop the word Easter from their annual egg hunt.
What that shows me is the passion that many people have to hold fast to the culture and traditions that we know. For many it can seem a trivial and pointless argument, the wrong battle to fight. That may be true. But it reflects a concern that I and many in the church have – that the Easter message, the story at the heart of Easter is getting lost.
The culture, traditions and heritage of our country were shaped by people who understood and believed in the teachings of Jesus, whose story is at the heart of Easter. What makes our country a place that can be generous and welcoming to the stranger, that is founded on a notion of justice and the rule of law is all rooted in a faith and belief in God.
But Jesus’ story offers us far more than that. The story of God’s son, who lived on earth because he loved us is a story that all need to hear. We all need to hear it not because the church wants to keep itself going. We need to hear it because it is still important for us all. Because it is a story that reveals a God who cares for us all.
It’s a story of passion. Of Jesus, God’s son, who was falsely accused and shamefully tried. Who was vilified by the mob and mocked and tortured by those who should have known better. And who was killed for a crime he did not commit.
It’s also a story of love. Because he did all that for us. Because, as the bible says, God loves the world. And the story of Jesus’ suffering shows that there is a God who understands every part of the human experience.
And it’s a story of hope. Because just when everything was bleak, on Good Friday when he died, God found a way to triumph and on Easter Sunday God found the victory by raising Jesus from the dead and bringing hope to us all.
That’s the heart of the Easter story. That God so loved the world that he did all of this for us through his love for us. And you can find more about that story and a welcome into God’s love at any of the churches across Warrington this Easter. Come along and come to the heart of the Easter story.