CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Wishing everyone a very happy Easter
For many, Easter is traditionally a time of chocolate, lots of it and generally egg-shaped.
My Eastbourne traditions have also included the Eggspress at the Miniature Steam Railway and feeding lambs at Seven Sisters Sheep Station.
Eastbourne really comes into its own at this time of year so it was no surprise that we were again named as one of the happiest places to live in the UK this week.
How I love my home town and its surrounding villages!
Would it be fair to say, however, that last week Cadburys and the National Trust were not ‘feeling the Easter love’ with a backlash against their alleged airbrushing of faith from their own seasonal activities?
Quite a few people got hot under the collar when they discovered it was no longer an Easter Egg Hunt this year but rather Cadbury’s Great British Egg Hunt.
This earned a rebuke from the Prime Minister who called the move ‘absolutely ridiculous’.
I guess this sensitivity to Christianity being seemingly diluted, diminished or denied is because people of faith can genuinely feel marginalised in a prevailing culture which now reflects, for the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion outnumbering Christians in Britain.
It can be tough professing any type of faith, be it religious or political.
Recently, one new young volunteer told me it had been harder to come out as a Conservative than it had been to tell his friends he was gay!
I think for children, whatever their background, to know the story behind the egg hunt adds to their experience of life and the world around them.
There are variations but essentially, all interpretations point to the egg as representing ‘new life’, and for Christians like me, this eternal life being brokered through the sacrificial death of Jesus crucified on a Roman cross two millennia ago.
That story has been beautifully told for children in C.S Lewis’, ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Although church attendance in some traditions is declining, history shows that faith itself is irrepressible, rather like life itself.
And to understand our world today, it is as important as ever to have a knowledge and understanding of different faiths because faith also speaks to how we understand our own lives.
I like a cream egg myself so I’ll be indulging!
And I wish you a Happy Easter.