“Jesus lives”: Christian leaders react to kerfuffle over non-cross buns

A supermarket's decision to replace the traditional cross on hot cross buns with a branded one has ignited debate across the UK. In the middle of the Easter season, the move led to calls for a boycott and prompted Danny Webster, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, to highlight the core message of Easter.

Iceland, the supermarket, initiated a trial by replacing the cross with a mark on some of its buns after a survey indicated that a fifth of its customers preferred the symbol. This change, however, faced a backlash from various Christian groups and individuals, emphasizing the continuing significance of the cross to many in the UK.

Reacting to the uproar over Iceland's removal of the Christian symbol from its holiday buns, Evangelical Alliance's Webster stated that regardless of the supermarket's design choices, the Christian community will continue to affirm the resurrection of Jesus.

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“Easter is when Christians around the world remember that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, Webster said. “Whatever Iceland puts on their buns, Christians will continue to declare the truth of the cross that Jesus lives.”

Webster also responded to the issue by writing about X: “Maybe I'll write a piece later on whether or not to answer questions like these. On one level a bit of fun, on another an opportunity to say something about the gospel, but also the risky feed caused outrage and let journalists write the headline they had already planned.”

He also wrote: “Toyed with a line about the tick representing Jesus' victory over death, but felt it might make the story more confusing!”

Henrietta Blyth, chief executive of Open Doors, also expressed concern, noting the deep meaning of the cross, even when it appears on something as banal as a bun.

“The cross still has huge meaning for millions of people in Britain, whether or not they attach meaning to it on a bun anymore,” she was quoted as saying. “I understand why people might not want to see a cross on their teacup. It represents one of the most painful forms of execution ever devised – you could say it's like having an electric chair on a croissant.”

The controversy not only involved religious figures but also political ones.

Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, acknowledged the unexpected boost in sales of traditional hot cross buns, which increased by 134% following the public outcry, Times Series. reported. That reaction was particularly reinforced by comments from MPs such as Lee Anderson of Reform UK and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, who criticized the supermarket's decision.

Despite the uproar, Iceland has maintained that the traditional hot cross buns will remain available, ensuring that the essence of the Easter tradition is preserved.

David Lennox, head of development at Iceland Foods, explained the rationale behind the trial, citing customer feedback and evolving market preferences.

The debate extends beyond the supermarket shelves, touching on wider discussions about the commercialization and adaptation of religious symbols. Gavin Ashenden, former honorary priest to the late Queen Elizabeth II, criticized the trend of changing hot cross buns with non-traditional ingredients, suggesting a dilution of their traditional meaning.

In response to the situation, Simon Calvert, deputy director of The Christian Institute, advised focusing on the spiritual essence of Easter, recommending church attendance over buying modified buns.

“As others have said, Christians will continue to proclaim this wonderful good news regardless of what Iceland puts on their buns. My advice is: this Easter Sunday, instead of buying hot cross buns, go to church,” Times Series cited Calvert as saying.

Source: www.christianpost.com

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