Those of us who have been around for a while get used to certain un-ending trends. Athlete’s salaries always get more ridiculous. Televisions always get bigger. Politicians always get sleazier. Some things just seem to have no limit.
Another seemingly endless trend is the crass commercialization and cheapening of the most exalted and meaningful symbols. I’m not talking here about t-shirts made to look like the American flag, as hideous as those are. No, what really set me off this week was the realization that the local Walmart (the arbiter of all things main-stream) is now selling chocolate crosses as part of their Easter candies. That’s right, the ghastly symbol if Roman power and cruelty, transformed by Christ into the ultimate symbol of Divine love bearing and forgiving human sin, has now become…a child’s candy treat.
See it so lovely and inviting, surrounded by flowers (which is surely how the Roman soldiers adorned the cross). See it nestled on the plastic grass, with Peeps and Reese’s eggs to accompany it. See the good American child, happy for a moment as he consumes it sugary goodness, then wipes his mouth. Did I mention it is a CROSS we are speaking of? An instrument of torture and death? Next year will they sell marshmallow gallows? Perhaps a hanging noose made out of licorice? A candy electric chair? Have we so domesticated the spiritual that we don’t realize how a chocolate cross is just as obscene? Nay, a hundred times more so!
Tomorrow is Easter. I will go to church, remember the meaning of the crucifixion, and celebrate the empty tomb. And I will try very, very hard to forget about chocolate crosses.