Easter Is More Than Bunnies Schlepping Eggs

mind times; font-size: 16px;”>By Gregory J. Welborn

vialis 40mg times; font-size: 16px;”>How is it that Easter became the day when bunnies (who don’t lay eggs) are schlepping eggs in wheelbarrows (they can’t possibly lift) to children the world over (without even the benefit of a flying sleigh like Santa)?  I’m sure a historian can provide an answer, but the more important question is whether the true Easter story is relevant for what it really is.

Easter is an old story.  The main characters, world powers, national borders, and political conflicts of the time are all gone.  Perhaps that’s why Easter has been “updated” to something as timeless as cute bunnies, pretty eggs and sweet treats.  But what if Easter didn’t need to be updated?  What if the heart of the Easter story is as relevant to our world, politics and culture as it was at its inception?  That’s the better question.

I’d like to suggest that the best way to answer it is to look into the life of a modern man, a twentieth century man, who, like Easter’s progenitor, was willing to give up all he had for the benefit of people he would never know.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a devout Christian theologian.  Early in the ascendancy of German fascism, Bonhoeffer spoke vigorously in opposition to Hitler and his treatment of Jews, Christians and the downtrodden.  So threatening was his opposition and eloquence that he was counseled to leave Germany lest he, too, be imprisoned like so many others who resisted Hitler.  He fled to the United States to continue his work exhorting others to stop Hitler before it went too far.  But of course, it went too far.  Hitler took over and began liquidating those he deemed undesirable.

Bonhoeffer, despite living in the U.S., was still on the black lists.  He knew this.  His supporters kept him informed and tried to protect him, which to them meant remaining in the safety of the U.S. to wait out the Nazi regime.

We can debate the wisdom and the practicality of his returning to Germany, but we cannot debate his faith and commitment.  In speaking to his vast audiences, he made clear that his faith compelled him to believe in duty beyond his self-interests and physical safety.  He would return to Germany and, ultimately, give action to his beliefs by joining in a plot to kill Hitler.  His concern for his fellow-Germans animated his desire to save them, and his faith animated his commitment to act. 

The plot was ultimately unsuccessful, and Bonhoeffer was imprisoned.  In the waning days of WWII, while hunkered down in his bunker, Herr Hitler personally ordered the hanging of the still-young theologian.  At 39, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged April 9, 1945 at the Flossenburg Concentration Camp.

Regrets?  No.  Fear?  Almost certainly.  But he didn’t cower.  Instead, he told a fellow prisoner, “This is the end.  But for me, the beginning of life.”  So how is it that someone with such a bright future and the option to avoid the fate of a martyr would voluntarily put himself into such danger and meet such a fate at peace?

Because he believed the Easter story.  To him it was not about bunnies, pretty eggs, or sweets.  It was about faith in the truth of a God who volunteered to pay the price which all humanity deserved.  Our history, even in bible times, was not pretty.  Humans were cruel, relentlessly selfish sinners;  we still are.  God demands righteousness, but he loves with equal passion.  We could never measure up; we could never absolve ourselves sufficiently.  So He sent His one and only son – God incarnate – who through His power could have avoided the death of the barbaric Roman cross.  Jesus voluntarily sacrificed that His people – all of us, then, now and in the future – could be redeemed.  Christ paid the price so that we all could have everlasting life with God.  That is the true Easter story.  Believe in Christ and live eternally!

In conclusion, I offer an admission.  I lied – or at least misled.  Bonhoeffer couldn’t know all of the people for whom he willingly made a sacrifice he did not have to make.  But Jesus does know all the people for whom He made the sacrifice He did not have to make.  More importantly, it is possible for us to know Jesus.  That’s the on-going wonder and beauty of Easter.  Each of us can accept Christ as our Lord and savior, can have a relationship with God, and have ever-lasting life.  I don’t think we need the bunnies, eggs or sweets to have a great day.

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Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious organizations on cultural and moral issues.  He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 3 children and is active in the community.  He can be reached [email protected]

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