Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A richer life than this?

It’s Easter. 

And for most of us this means chocolate, hot cross buns, Easter bonnets, time off work and the chance to get together with family and friends.  All really great stuff.

But this year let’s also remember a very special person.  A man who made a huge sacrifice for others, who cared about the poor and marginalised, who hoped to inspire a better world.

Well, of course, you may think I’m talking about Jesus – who did all of these things and more.  But I’m actually talking about John Cadbury the founder of the eponymous global brand and whose name will be on the many millions of chocolate eggs we eat this year.

John Cadbury was a Quaker.  He was a Christian and he was deeply concerned about poverty and social injustice in England in the 19th century.  He had a business selling tea and coffee and he decided to make a new product - drinking chocolate - in the hope that this would be popular and an alternative to drinking alcohol.  Which Cadbury saw as being at the root of much suffering.

And so, this was the start of Cadbury’s chocolate.  And led to Dairy Milk, Crunchie, Flake, Curlywurly and all our other favourites – not least, the Creme egg!

John Cadbury and his sons were exceptional employers for their times – building the Bourneville estate for their workers where they had schools, medical care, gardens and sports facilities (but no pubs!)  They paid good wages including pensions, maintained safe and humane working conditions and provided paid holidays.

In the light of all this, I can’t help wondering what John Cadbury would think if he were alive today – seeing how sugar consumption has rocketed in the last 150 years.  How, according to a recent survey, children in the UK receive, on average, eight chocolate Easter eggs each year.  And how alcohol consumption per capita - despite dips during the two twentieth century world wars – has stayed much the same as ever.

As we gather with friends and family this Easter, let’s remember John Cadbury – the man behind the egg – and his vision for a better, fairer world.

And where that vision came from.

Because the vision came from Cadbury’s Christian faith.  It came from his faith in Jesus Christ, who gave his life on the cross two thousand years ago - that we might have new life.  A richer, more abundant life.  And, by that, he didn’t just mean more chocolate!

A rich life is cross shaped not egg shaped. CLICK TO TWEET

Let’s have a rich, abundant life by doing more to enrich the lives of others.  Let’s remember the social injustice that continues in this country and around the world, that we are all truly complicit with – as we snap up the 3 for 2 offers.  Without questioning the work and trade conditions of those who have sold the global confectioners their chocolate and labour.

Let’s make sure we give something to charity.  Or buy Fairtrade.  Or do something to support our community and build relationships with our neighbours.

Local churches are a great place to get involved in this kind of thing.  So do seek yours out, go along to an Easter service and find out what they are up to.

At my church, St Michael’s in Elmwood Road, you can help us get ready for our annual community street party in June – by giving something for our fundraising Auction on Saturday 14 April.  Or come along to this event.  You can get involved with fundraising lunches, our community choir and the youth band we are starting up.  Do get in touch to find out more.

In the meantime, enjoy the chocolate and have a Happy Easter!

Posted by Martine Oborne

An Easter Sunday service with Easter egg hunt in the gardens will be on Sunday 1 April at 11am at St Michael’s Elmwood Road W4 3DZ.  There will also be a dawn service on Easter Day by the river – meet at 6.30am at the point where Grove Park Road becomes Thames Road and share breakfast together afterwards.

Usual Sunday services at St Michael’s Elmwood Road are at 9.30am and 11am – with groups and activities for children.
St Michael’s Church: www.stmichael-elmwoodroad.org
Subscribe to Martine Oborne’s blog here: www.martineoborne.com

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