Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Gospel According to Ferrero Rocher
Here is the introduction to my Palm Sunday Sermon for tomorrow:
Did you see the latest Ferrero Rocher chocolate add made especially for Easter? I’ve seen it and it made me laugh so hard at the stupidity of the advertising company that made the ad. But after laughing for a few moments it suddenly made me annoyed and then depressed. The ad for Ferrero Rocher chocolates features the gods of Olympus celebrating Easter by giving their succulent and heavenly Ferrero Rocher chocolates to us mortals on earth as gifts for us to enjoy. So if I understand this right, Ferrero Spa, who make the chocolates, want us to believe the pagan gods of Greek mythology are celebrating Easter by giving me chocolate. Now there are two possible problems going on here. Either: (1) Ferrero Spa doesn’t know much about Greek mythology because I’m pretty sure that Zeus wasn’t into Jesus or even the Easter Bunny; or (2) they don’t know what Easter is about because I’m pretty darn certain Jesus didn’t care a brass razoo about chocolate and the crown of thorns that Jesus was forced to wear was not his Easter bonnet. Now I can understand someone trying to take Christianity out of Easter because, let’s face it, crucifixion, sin, and redemption might not have a big market appeal these days. But to flat out paganize Easter by bringing in the gods of Olympus to sell chocolate is just … well … somewhere between loopy and beyond the pale. It is bad enough that the marketing industry has hijacked Christmas by turning it into a pagan holiday for hocking off tacky merchandise and over eating fatty foods, but now, they’re even trying quite literally to paganize Easter by bringing in pagan gods of antiquity. Instead of the God of Israel setting for his Son as a sacrifice of atonement to wipe away our sins (see Rom 3:24), Easter is being turned into a celebration of pagan gods giving us chocolate, cream, and nuts in a pretty gold foil. That’s what we’ve come to folks. But that’s not how the story goes, does it! The Easter that we’ve had for two thousand years is not about rich gourmet chocolate in shiny foil. It is the event that marks the climax of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, his final plea to Israel to accept his message of the kingdom, his final week in Jerusalem teaching the crowds and debating the Judean leaders, a final meal with his closest followers, then his arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. Easter is about how triumph comes only through tribulation, its the victory of God over demonic powers, the conquest of God’s love over human wickedness, how God-given hope trumps human inspired hatred, its about God’s power revealed through the apex of human weakness, and its about how evil is routed by God’s forgiveness. That’s the Easter story. No Zeus, no chocolate, no gold packaging. It’s a story full of dirty roads, palm branches, religious fervor, curious people, politics, unleavened bread, power, bustling streets, scared people, sweaty people, roasted lamb, tense moments, violent people, and God who, despite all expectations, bring liberation to his people through the Messiah of Israel: Jesus of Nazareth.