Today was our third day of The Easter Code, based in Hillhouse Church today and tomorrow. When the chaplaincy team debriefed at the end of the event we found we had all had some great conversations with the children in our different tents.
My favourite comment from the morning came after talking with a group of children about what they had learned Jesus had been doing in the years before Holy Week. Having identified all the good things he had been doing, I asked what their reaction to him would have been, and how they thought people reacted at the time. The intention was to get the young people to identify that some folks were overjoyed about Jesus, while others, usually the religious leaders, grumbled about what Jesus was up to. One of the boys, with a stunningly graphic image offered, "Jesus is a bit like Marmite, you either love him or hate him." Brilliant. [There's more...]
There's no middle ground with Jesus. His challenge, his teaching, his sacrificial life leave little room for a shrug of the shoulders, "so what?" To understand what he lived and died for is to be confronted with the challenge to respond: love him or hate him? That for so many people today there is indifference to the church is a crashing judgement on us for failing to help people grasp what Jesus is about.
I'm hoping that through The Easter Code we can in some small way help to inform a new generation of what Jesus was really about: truly good news for all.
Next time you catch a whiff of Marmite and your stomach churns in hungry anticipation or heaves at the thought of putting that wretched black stuff in your mouth, think about the Marmite Jesus... do you love him or hate him?
For the purposes of full disclosure: I Luv Marmite too!
And a big thank you to Francis, Grace, Kerigh, Linda, Sandra and Val for helping out yesterday when we were hosting The Easter Code in St Andrew's!