A church member recently gave me some Easter candy I had never seen before. Unlike your typical egg and bunny clad wrapping, this chocolate bar featured a picture of Jesus carrying a lamb. I began to wonder, what theological significance a chocolate Jesus bar could potentially have? Firstly I noticed that this is a solid milk chocolate bar. Which made me think of the hymn verse, “On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Secondly, this is a milk chocolate bar as opposed to dark chocolate. Until about 7 years ago I exclusively enjoyed milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is sweeter than dark chocolate, which seems to appeal to the child within all of us. However, I have come to appreciate dark chocolate as well. Dark chocolate is sometimes called semi-sweet, because without milk it is still sweet, yet it holds a slight bitterness. I feel like the season of Easter can be like dark chocolate with a bittersweetness to it. Yes, on Easter Sunday the stone is rolled away and Jesus is Alive! Yes, resurrection and eternal life are both sweet things to be joyous about. AND… Easter Sunday doesn’t happen without Good Friday. New life can’t happen until the previous one ends. And for the disciples, life was never the same after Jesus was resurrected.
I remain hopeful that things will continue to get better in the world, and in our lives. And amid the joy and sweetness of the world beginning to heal, I will never forget the bitter struggle and hardship the world has endured. Bitterness helps us appreciate sweetness just as the cold helps us appreciate warmth and darkness helps us appreciate the light. It is my prayer that we will remember these days in years to come and never take for granted all that we have to be thankful for. As we continue to live in the season of Easter, may we stay focused on the horizon. May we look ahead to what we are called to do next as we approach a new dawn. And may we keep Christ at the center of our lives.