Every Tuesday morning at 9:30, I have to attend an inter-departmental meeting at work. Because Easter Monday is a public holiday here, next Tuesday's meeting will be one of the first things we do on returning to work after Easter.
I mention this because I do wonder why the person who always leads the meeting insisted on handing round little chocolate eggs today. OK, it was nice of him to buy them for us, but it was too early! He compounded the error by saying, several times, as he handed them round, "Well, this is our special Easter meeting."
Later in the day, I had the following conversation with a couple of colleagues:
Colleague 1: "Did you try one of those eggs this morning?"
Colleague 2: "Why not?"
Me: "Because it's not Easter yet."
Colleague 1: "It was lovely chocolate."
Me: "He handed them out a week too early. That's why I couldn't take one."
Colleague 2: "That seems a bit silly."
Me: "I bet he wouldn't have started handing out sweets to Muslims a few days before the end of Ramadan."
Colleague 2: "Yes, but that's different - you have to admit that to most people Easter's just about the chocolate."
So there you have it - the single most important event in the Church's year, and it's all about the chocolate. I know that's probably what most people in our secular society think. I should be grateful that here in the UK we get a public holiday for Good Friday. (Another of my colleagues is going to a wedding that day - "Yes, but it's not a church wedding." Glad he cleared that up for me - I might not have realised otherwise.) I just get disappointed when I hear people say it so baldly - because it's true that they wouldn't get away with showing such disrespect for any other religion.
So I've arranged to work from home for the rest of the week. The only times I'll be leaving the house between now and the weekend will be to go to church, starting with tomorrow's penitential service. In between, I'll get my work done and still have plenty of time to prepare myself for Easter.
I love Holy Week, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to make the most of it... Perhaps the chocolate faux pas was a blessing in disguise.