Easter thoughts

Rick Bartes, Manenberg

With Easter approaching, it is good to consider what it signifies, and its relevance in the current setting of our country.

This is usually the time when it is obvious that the majority of South Africans are followers of the Christian faith.

The Easter gatherings, conferences and public notices all indicate that Christians believe Jesus is their Saviour and Lord.

Why is it then that the Name of Jesus Christ is being used as a curse (swear) word on South African public television?

The screening of such content by the public broadcaster and other television stations, has been happening for more than 20 years already.

The “P” symbol appearing under the programme or film classification before the screening, which is an abbreviation for prejudice, is supposed to forewarn viewers of such utterances and other prejudicial content.

The broadcasting of Christian religious content by these television stations is indeed acknowledged and appreciated; as it shows people worshipping, preaching and praying in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ.

Can it, however, be expected of Christians to be accepting of the screenings of such cursing, whereas a key element of their faith is being contravened then?

What is required for broadcasters to refrain from screening such content, or for them to be compelled to withdraw programmes containing cursing of the Name of Jesus Christ?

Reverend Renate Cochrane, Hout Bay

Easter is the time when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ – so what does this have to do with eggs and bunnies? We can only understand this custom with a look at history. Many centuries ago, when the first missionaries came to Germanic countries, local people embraced the Christian message of love and justice, but did not want to give up their cultural traditions. One of their most beloved traditions was the spring celebration in honour of the goddess Eastre. She was the goddess of fertility and “new life”. After the dark winter months, the Germanic tribes joyfully anticipated the “new life” of planting, warm air and sun in summer. Many symbols accompanied the spring festival. Eggs are the symbol of fertility, so are rabbits as they multiply very fast.

When I was a child in Germany, my deeply Christian mother explained to me, that our Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies were a reminder of ancestral times when people still worshipped many gods and goddesses. This never disrupted the joy of “pagan” Easter practices in our family – as children the chocolate feast and search parties in the garden instilled happiness in our hearts.

And today, as an adult, celebrating that Christ has conquered death, I still carry the joy of Easter in my heart. There is nothing wrong with cultural tradition going alongside religion – as long as the cultural tradition is not oppressive.

Seeing the chocolate bunnies and Easter decorations in South African supermarkets is still strange for me, but I remember the sweet joy of our childhood and I am sure, African children are just as happy about this custom.