Jesus on Nazareth was not just the son of a carpenter, or a great spiritual teacher. When we went to church in Erlangen with my friend in 2015, the young pastor on training wheels challenged us as to whether we believed in the risen Christ. She said that if we did we were obligated to look at why the son of God became human, died for us, but then conquered death, returning to the Father, but with us all the time if we accept Him.
This is what Easter is supposed to be about. Beyond that the Easter festival signalled spring and rebirth, which is the symbolism of the egg.
When I was growing up in a Lutheran community in the Australian bush we had coloured hens eggs, but no-one talked about rabbits. However, a teacher at our little Lutheran Day School soon after WW2 brought the Easter bunny to the district. Easter has never been the same.
In this account the floppy-eared bearer of candy came to America with German immigrants:
- According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.
We are also told:
- Bunnies aren’t the animal traditionally associated with Easter in every country. Some identify the holiday with other types of animals like foxes or cuckoo birds.
And in olden times they were not always friendly, in fact they tried to kill you:
Here in Oz Easter has mostly become the pursuit of pleasure and company (barbies, parties and such), along with vast amounts of chocolate bunnies and eggs:
As is the capitalist way. However, peaceful hedonism beats fear of mortal peril.
This year all has changed again, but not necessarily the meaning. My friend in Erlangen sent me this image:
The virus Covid 19 has reinstated peril, has emptied the churches, but the message is still the same.
This caused some difficulty for the Christian Scott Stevens, and the Muslim Waleed Aly on ABC RN’s The Minefield. How could a benificent all-powerful God allow all this to happen?
Together with David Newheiser, Research Fellow in philosophy and the study of religion at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at the Australian Catholic University, they ask How can we live with coronavirus uncertainty?
- The coronavirus pandemic has exploded, in little more than a month, the illusions of certainty, confidence, optimism and control on which so much of modern life, the economy and politics are predicated. That sense of certainty, it could be argued, is based on what could be called a form of secular “Providence” — just think, here, of Adam Smith’s confidence in the “Invisible Hand” by which self-interested market relations conspire to achieve a benefit for all.
This certainty has emboldened so many of us not to own our vulnerability, our ‘exposure’ to finitude, suffering, scarcity — and thus to be governed more by efficiency and profitability in times of prosperity, rather than to build vulnerability (and therefore capacity) into our politics and social life. (There are plenty of points of connection here with climate change, incidentally.)
Living with vulnerability, embracing radical interdependence and uncertainty, therefore seems a kind of theological-political task. And it’s going to require a kind of theological-political argument against both the idolatry of “states of emergency” that accompany such crises (and the victims those emergencies invariably produce) and the bad-faith optimism that sacrifices people and planet to efficiency and prosperity.
A lot of words were spoken in 38 minutes and 19 seconds.
Newheiser finds hope, albeit with struggle and uncertainty. Progress is not baked into the human story.
My thought is that there is a loss of control and the notion that we as a species are in an existential struggle should not be a surprise.
The basic problem here is that there is another pandemic here which threatens life on Earth. It’s called Homo [not so] sapiens.
Hubris may have landed us where we are, but as a species we do have to take control, of ourselves as well as the virus, in order to find a balance that preserves and enhances the natural world. Climate change may have been pushed off the front pages, but the challenge remains.
James Temple finds The unholy alliance of covid-19, nationalism, and climate change.
In mid December climate talks in Madrid failed:
- by most accounts, Australia, Brazil, and the US — each now run by nationalist leaders who rose to power in part on promises to defy global demands for greater climate action—took special pains to thwart progress.
- Two weeks later, researchers in China identified a deadly new coronavirus strain that had infected dozens of people, marking the start of the global pandemic. Borders slammed shut. Global trade stalled and markets crashed. Countries traded accusations and insults. In a matter of weeks, any lingering momentum behind efforts to jointly confront climate change essentially vanished.
From Madrid eyes turned to the next chance of talks in Glasgow scheduled for December 2020.
All UN climate meetings have been cancelled. Worse still, Temple says China before the pandemic seemed to be souring on climate co-operation, and seems to be re-emphasising a reliance on coal – its own coal.
Somehow we need to fashion a narrative of hope. We need to turn crisis into opportunity.