Crossroads: Easter smybolism explained

Uniting Church minister Rev Michele Lees. Photo: Cath Grey Photo by Cath Grey

Hot cross buns and Easter eggs adorn the supermarket shelves and have done for quite a while.

Why do we have hot cross buns and Easter eggs at this time of the year? What do they symbolise? When should they be eaten?

Hot cross buns are meant to be eaten on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Day.

The cross on the bun symbolises the cross on which Jesus Christ died.

Good Friday is a sombre day for those who mourn the death of Jesus, but it is also a day when we look forward to the joy of Easter Day.

Easter Day is when we celebrate that Jesus Christ has come back to life from death, has taken on a new life.

How this happens remains a mystery, but sightings of Jesus Christ after his death, his ability to enter a locked room, and to eat and drink and be touched, all confirm this miraculous event.

Even more so, those of us who experience the spirit of the risen Christ in our life testify to Jesus being raised from death.

The Easter egg symbolises the new life made available by Jesus’ death and resurrection, because just as new life emerges out of an eggshell in the form of a chick, so too, the new life of the risen Jesus emerged from the tomb where his body laid.

Therefore, the time to eat Easter eggs is on Easter Day.

In the Christian calendar, the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day are called Lent.

It is a time for reflection, prayer, fasting and giving.

It is a time when we can become closer to God, the Lord God.

This can involve putting aside more time in reading the Bible.

Lent is to be a time when we restrict indulgence.

Remember Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. This is the day when traditionally we rid our cupboards of the ingredients which go towards festive living.

Lent can be understood as a time of fasting before the feasting of Easter Day.

However, our culture is at odds with the idea of fasting before a feast.

We tend to feast all the time, with overconsumption being more the cultural norm. Of course, this does not apply to those who have limited income or who experience an eating disorder.

It is good to take stock of our life during the six weeks of Lent.

We need not fast in the sense of going without necessary food and drink, but we can use this time to consider what our bodily needs truly are and restrict our intake to what we need.

When we do this, we can live in solidarity with those who live with less and donate what we save to projects that fight poverty.

Enjoy hot cross buns on Good Friday and Easter eggs on Easter Day and remember what they symbolise, the death of Jesus on the cross, and the new life Jesus makes available to all from his resurrected life.

Easter blessings.

— Rev Michele Lees, Echuca Moama Uniting Church