On Holy Saturday I found myself throwing out the first page of my Easter sermon. It wasn't bad -- it just didn't quite lead to the primary meat of the sermon, found on page three, about proclaiming resurrection in the face of killing lies.
But I still like the Easter bilby, and think the Australians are on the right track to declare a vulnerable native species their own mascot for Easter, so here it is:
PROCLAIMING RESURRECTION (page 1)
What if you had to celebrate Easter in the absence of spring – it’s a thought that has probably crossed our minds a few times this year, as snow fell again this week and temperatures have been a little slow to climb.
Of course, as much as we think of Easter as a celebration of spring, there are plenty of Christians in the world who celebrate it without green grass and budding flowers. A whole hemisphere in fact.
You’ve got to feel for them, folks down under. having to proclaim new life in the midst of death. If you were in Australia now, instead of celebrating Easter after the spring equinox for them it is when the days are growing shorter, when the darkness is creeping in and spring blooms are long gone.
Add to that the problem that the symbol the Western world has chosen for this day is a persistent invasive pest. Yes, in the mid 1800’s three – count them three pair – of European rabbits were introduced to the continent, and within a few generations they were overrun with them. This symbol of fertility, New life springing up turned out to be threat to the things that they most needed – like food.
So a few enterprising Australians have taken matters into their own hands and have begun a campaign to replace the Easter bunny with the Easter bilby.
What is a bilby? A bilby is a native marsupial, It’s kind of cute – think aardvark crossed with a field mouse with really big ears. OK, maybe not as cute as a white rabbit, but definitely cuter than your average house mouse that shows up unwelcome in your kitchen cabinets.
The bilby, unlike the bunny, is native, and it’s having a rather hard time these days. There are probably fewer than a thousand left in the outback, and Australians figure that if new life in the midst of death, celebrating the resurrection in the midst of autumn needs a small mammal as its mascot, the bilby is it.
After seeing snow on the ground we too might wonder whether Easter might need better timing here in Minnesota, but if you think about it, proclaiming new life in the midst of a dying planet is what we do all the time.