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Lots of Candy but No Christ

This coming weekend Americans will be celebrating the Easter holiday with their usual vim and vigor. Unfortunately, many have forgotten this “holiday” is truly a “holy day.”

I did an Easter search on Google this past week and found that:

  • Americans will spend $18.1 billion on Easter this year.
  • 66% of parents will make Easter baskets for their kids.
  • 91 million chocolate bunnies are sold each year for Easter.
  • 90% of parents plan to discuss eating candy in moderation with their kids.

Did you notice anything missing? Lots of candy but no Christ.

A friend of mine used to be a salesman for a company that specialized in making shoes for diabetics. One Easter weekend, he was in one of the pharmacies he serviced, and he saw a young worker re-stocking the shelves with more chocolate Easter bunnies. He asked her if she knew what Easter is about, and she said, “Eggs and bunnies.” When he told her that it actually is a celebration of Jesus’s resurrection, she said, “No way!” Yes way.

Everything in the Christian faith hinges on this one historical event: Jesus rose from the dead. C. H. Dodd once wrote, “The Resurrection is not a belief that grew up within the church; it is the belief around which the church itself grew up, and the `given’ upon which its faith was based” (Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, 217.

The Resurrection is The Great Reversal. When Jesus walked out of the tomb, it showed us that nothing, not even death, is final. Even that can be reversed.

Several months ago, Laura and I went to Tyler Trent’s funeral. You’re most likely familiar with Tyler’s story, as it gained global attention through ESPN and even the White House. Tyler was diagnosed with cancer as a teenager and had three rounds of seeing his cancer come back until he eventually won the battle and became cancer free as he went on to heaven.

Tyler went through the agony of death in order to gain the reality of heaven. The Great Reversal takes pain and death and transforms it into joy and new life. “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54b).

Novelist John Updike states this truth poetically:

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

As you prepare for Easter, be grateful and celebrate that in Jesus, “Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die” (John Donne, Death, Be Not Proud).

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

Holiness and Hollandaise are Not Mutually Exclusive

After our daughter, Anna, came back home to live with us after a year-long internship, we picked up the pace of our weekly family night of watching The Great British Baking Show. For all of you readers who might be questioning my manhood, keep reading.

The pay off in watching this show is that Laura and Anna like to apply what they learn by trying different “bakes,” which means I get to be the judge, and the only way to judge is to eat. Win, win.

My personal enjoyment of eating these ambrosial bakes reminded me of something I read recently about the glories of hollandaise:

If you prepare a meal for me, it’s my responsibility—my solemn duty—to enjoy it. . . . Moderation is called for in all things, including zealotry in diet. Robert Capon . . . puts it this way: “Food these days is often identified as the enemy. Butter, salt, sugar, eggs, are all out to get you. And yet at our best, we know better. Butter is . . . well, butter: it glorifies almost everything it touches. Salt is the sovereign of all flavors. Eggs are, pure and simple, one of the wonders of the world. And if you put them altogether, you get not a sudden death, but hollandaise—which in its own way is not one less bit a marvel than the Gothic arch, the computer chip, or a Bach fugue” (McCullough, Say Please, Say Thank You, 59-60).

In case you think this comes right out of a Mary Berry cookbook, think again. The author who penned these words of salivation also penned these words of sanctification: “It may well be revealed that the worst sin of the church at the end of the 20thcentury has been the trivialization of God” (The Trivialization of God, 13).

Same author. Two disparate topics. How can the same author wax eloquently on the glories of butter and the glory of God? Here’s how: holiness and hollandaise are not mutually exclusive. Terry Smith, in his book, The Hospitable Leader, ties together food and faith through none other than Jesus (189). Jesus said, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard’” (Matthew 11:19). The Phillips translation puts it, “The Son of Man came, enjoying life.”

Think about it. The most holy man ever to walk the earth, who accomplished the most significant work in the history of the world, enjoyed life to such perceived excess that His enemies accused Him of drunkenness and gluttony.

Jesus openly acknowledged the joy of feasting without misusing. Jesus’ holiness was not diminished in the feasting. And nor was the feasting subdued by holiness. In other words, in Jesus holiness and hollandaise met. As the Psalmist wrote, “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10).

I encourage you to follow our Savior in enjoying life and pursuing holiness. These are not mutually exclusive. In fact, when joined together, they are mutually beneficial.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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