Friday, March 25, 2005

Chocolate Crosses, Good Friday & Easter

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI heard a news story this morning concerning whether chocolate crosses are appropriate or inappropriate. Several persons, including a clergyman, were interviewed. Chocolate crosses? To be honest I had never thought about chocolate crosses before today. Is it something like the joke that says, "Whatever you do, do not think about blue elephants!"

I'm afraid that seminary did not prepare me for this particular theological dilemma, nor have I found any relevent scripture verses to buttress one viewpoint over another. Let's consider the subject......

First, there is the basic cross. That's all it is, just a chocolate cross with a small bunch of flowers (roses?) in the middle. This, I suppose, would make a nice "thank you" gift to your Sunday School teacher or, if you attend one, your teacher at a Christian School.
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Then there are the "bite sized" crosses (foil wrapped so they will not melt together into a blob, I suspect). These are for the nibbler in the family. Perhaps the woman of the house who likes to think that, because they are small, they won't add much of anything to their calorie count and their carb-free diet. After all, if one small cross doesn't mean anything, then neither would two of them....or three....well, you get the idea. A perfect gift for Mom (husbands give this at your peril).
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Then there is the big chocolate cross that actually stands up with its own chocolate pedestal. This could be used as a center piece for an Easter luncheon; perhaps surrounded by some colored cellophane "grass" (pink, yellow and green are my favorite colors) and a chocolate bunny, egg and chick as reminders of what this special day is all about.
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Last, there is the elegant, carefully sculpted and detailed chocolate Celtic Cross. This is, of course, a wonderful gift for your pastor; especially if he or she is a member of a Reformed Protestant congregation.
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Lutherans might be somewhat skeptical of such a gift, wondering if it contains some sort of hidden Calvinist message, so be careful with the Lutherans.

Congregationalists and Methodists do not seem to possess strong feelings on much of anything so any of the above crosses would do equally well the them.

I looked but couldn't find a Baptist chocolate cross. It would, of course, be plain and simple, perhaps even a bit rough around the edges to remind them of the hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross."

Catholics would require their chocolate cross to be a crucifix. This might seem to create a special difficulty for the average consumer/customer/church attender. But not to worry, the true body and blood of Christ are present only in the bread and wine, consecrated during the Mass. Since the chocolate image of Christ would represent merely a "remembrance" of Christ or, possibly his "spiritual" presence, it would then become equal to the Protestant "body of Christ" which is only bread and the Protestant "blood of Christ" which is only grape juice or wine (Epicopalians and Lutherans would from time to time be exempted from this judgement depending on who was Pope and what the most recent Vatican Council or Ecumenical Statement had to say). In any case, since the chocolate crucifix is simply the equivilent of plain bread and grape juice, Catholics should be able to enjoy it with a clear conscience.

Personally, as a Presbyterian pastor, I am partial to the chocolate Celtic Cross. But there is something about all of this that makes me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps it is the commercialization or the trivialization of the central symbol of our Christian faith that these chocolate crosses seem to represent.

No, sir. No chocolate cross for me on Easter this year. But, of course, I hope to enjoy some of those wonderful "hot-cross buns!"