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Junes Jottings 

Did anyone see the new Tesco advert on the TV this year for Easter? I like Tesco, but I didn’t – I mean I really, really didn’t – like the advert!

It started off by asking what was so good about Easter, and suggesting that chocolate is one of the great things (OK, they make a good point there…), but another great thing, according to Tesco, was not having to invite uncle Mike round. That really got to me – previously I might have just
laughed at the daft little joke, but, after the last couple of years we have had, I want to spend as much time as I can with all of my friends and family, including the ‘uncle Mikes’, the ones that are a bit embarrassing, the ones that don’t quite fit. I instantly realised that they had got Easter completely and utterly wrong.

Easter isn’t about chocolate, or the Easter bunny, or hot cross buns, or sunny weather, or family get togethers. Though they are all great, and they can all help us to celebrate Easter, its like focusing on the trimmings and missing the tree. Easter is about Jesus! And Easter is about uncle Mike, and all the other people who have ever felt excluded and left out and ignored and not good enough and not welcome.

2000 years ago Jesus challenged the religious leaders on their exclusivity. He ate with the ‘wrong’ people – with sinners and tax collectors. He enjoyed the company of the wrong people – even a woman of ‘questionable’ character who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. He touched the untouchables; people who were considered ritually unclean, people who were excluded from society like lepers, like the woman with the issue of blood. They were all welcome at Jesus’ table.

In fact, the only people who weren’t welcome were the people who chose not to take their place, like the rich young ruler who decided that what Jesus demanded (spoiler alert: Jesus demands everything we are and everything we have) was too much for him – he wanted to keep his religion and his life separate.

And on the cross, we saw the ultimate act of inclusivity, as Jesus took the sin and shame and guilt and horror of the whole world and he nailed it there, and he took it to the grave. All of the sin, all of the rubbish, and all of the stuff that we have done or that we will ever do, for every single person in the whole wide world who has ever been and who will ever be. Even uncle Mike. Even the people that you really would rather not invite to your feast. They are all invited to the Lord’s
table

 

So, I really don’t like that advert. At Easter we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus; we celebrated that Jesus IS who he said he was and that he did all that he said he would do, and that he is alive and he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and that everyone, absolutely everyone, is invited to take their rightful place in that kingdom – even you.