Easter Peep — Easter Miracle

Here’s my latest In Good Faith column for the Hingham Journal. I explore the miraculous nature of Easter Peeps in the context of the resurrection.

IN GOOD FAITH

By the Rev. Tim Schenck

Easter Miracle

It’s not about the Peeps. It’s a fringe benefit, of course. But Easter is not about the Peeps. Now, don’t get me wrong; I consider Peeps to be an Easter miracle in and of themselves. How else do you explain the popularity of those delectable chick-shaped marshmallow novelty treats? How else do you explain the unnaturally bright yellow of the classic Peep (well, besides a heavy infusion of Yellow Number #5). How else do you explain the incredibly long shelf life of your average Peep? As long as you don’t open the plastic packaging, it may well last until the Second Coming.

But as I said, Easter is not about the Peeps. I realize there’s confusion around this issue, however. Walk into any drugstore and the entire Easter display is highlighted by rows and rows of Peeps. And not just the classic yellow Peep – you can now get them in lavender, pink, blue, and white. Call me a Peep fundamentalist but these are all anathema to me. Give me yellow or I’m switching to jelly beans!

Now I’m not sure how or when the Peep became linked with the marking of Jesus’ resurrection in America. And the minor “miracle” of Peep technology set within the context of the truly miraculous Easter story pales in comparison. But once we recognize the real miracle of Easter: the empty tomb, Christ’s victory over sin and death, and our own redemption, we’re better attuned to the minor miracles that abound in this life. Once we recognize that through the resurrection of Jesus we are forgiven, healed, redeemed, and loved, we can move on to see the minor miracles that surround us. And there are many – the reconciling of a broken relationship with a friend; taking the dog for a walk and reveling in the beauty of the spring weather; or walking into a church and recognizing for the first time in awhile that, yes, God is in relationship with me. That God loves me for who I am rather than who I seek to become.

This week, throughout the world, Christians will be marking the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The liturgies of Holy Week allow us to fully participate in this, not as passive observers but as active participants. For the stories of this week are our stories; the drama is our drama; the victory is our victory. But we must be fully engaged in order to be fully transformed. You can’t experience the breadth of Easter joy without first experiencing the agony of the cross. Or at least reflecting upon it. Otherwise you end up crashing from the sugar high – as if Easter morning was spent downing Peep after Peep with no genuine sustenance in sight. Which sounds dandy until the inevitable crash.

Wherever you worship this year, I encourage you to embrace the Christian “High Holy Days:” Maundy (Holy) Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. Of course we also have services on Easter Sunday at St. John’s — three of them to be precise. So consider this an invitation — to my own church or any church in Hingham this week. You won’t be disappointed and your faith will surely be deepened along the way. I know how difficult it can be to enter the doors of a church for the first time. “Will they be annoyingly hard sell? Will I be smothered with pleasantries? Will I know what to do? Will they make me stand up and introduce myself?” But I bid you to overcome the feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty. You’ll be glad you did.

One final word about Peeps. Last year I was a “celebrity” judge in a contest called “All God’s Peeps” that took place in Maryland. Besides playing fast and loose with the word “celebrity,” the organizers encouraged people to submit photos of shoe box dioramas depicting scenes from the Bible using Peeps. There was a Jesus Peep walking on water, a David Peep slaying a giant chocolate Easter bunny Goliath, etc. You quite literally had to see this to believe it. But perhaps there is a more significant role for Peeps on Easter than I give them credit for. Or maybe my own sugar high is one Peep away from delusion. In any case, I wish you all a most blessed Easter.



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