I wonder how much it is being noticed that Easter is becoming more and more like Lewis Carol’s Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. You know the cat that slowly disappears, leaving only the cat’s smile.
I remark on this after observing the media coverage of Easter this year. On many news bulletins the celebration of Jesus death and resurrection came fourth, fifth or sixth in the running order of news items. Similarly in the arguably ‘national’ newspaper, the ‘Weekend Australian’, the only real reference to the meaning of the weekend was an item comprising about a third of the editorial, about one fifteenth of a page. This on the death and resurrection of Jesus whereas there was a whole page on the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez the south American poet, two thirds of a page on the death of the Tasmanian senator Brian Harradine, a third of a page on ANZAC day (a week in advance) and I could go on. This not to say that those are not newsworthy items but to make the point that largely all that is left of the Easter Cheshire cat is its smile, the smile of pleasure: Epitomised by chocolate, a long weekend, holidays, time to put another prawn on the barbie and to take the family away for a holiday.
The significance of this is that it is another measure of the disappearance of the Christian mindset and ethic from the Australian culture. This, together with the moral collapse accompanying it.
The message for the church is that it is yet another reminder that we now live in a pagan Australia, and that it is past time to rethink what the church is, what our priorities are, and how we are to do mission in this pagan land.
Steady as she goes, business as usual, she’ll be right and putting another prawn on the BBQ are just not going to cut it in terms of the future of Christianity in this land. In fact they are just the smile on the disappearing Easter Cheshire cat.