The way we each receive information most efficiently varies widely. For some of us, we like to sink our teeth into a good novel – words and more words. For others, it’s the movie version that finally makes sense of the tale. For still others, there is no image or word that describes the way that a garden rose in full bloom smells or the salt air at night; your first taste of tiramisu or the sound of the spring peepers.
For me, Easter is such a powerful concept that it helps to receive Easter’s meaning in many ways. For my children, there were my “experiments.” Over the course of their early years, we ate bitter herbs and drank sips of vinegar. We made crowns of thorns off last year’s rose stalks and washed each other’s feet. We felt the prick of nails as we pressed them into our palms. We cracked open eggs and talked about the empty shell and on Easter, we tasted the sugar in the Easter buns –sugar that we had left out of all our cooking for the previous 40 days – and ‘it was good.’
All of that served to awaken our senses but Easter is more than beautiful sunrises and the rough cross. The “big” Easter idea has to do with other truths that children understand and express best. When asked why Jesus died on the cross, one young girl said simply, “Because his Dad asked him to.” Another young boy said, “He died and rose again. Whenever I think of Easter and know that Jesus rose from being dead, I have hope. Easter makes me feel like I can rise again over any bad things that happen.”
Even if the obedience to love or the gift of hope could adequately describe Easter it still would not describe the majesty and awe that Easter also holds. Perhaps it is because Easter is not an event so much as a transformational moment in the most powerful relationship ever described or experienced.
Think for a moment about the relationships Jesus has with his disciples. The One who had come to save them, the One whom they betrayed, let down, deserted and denied, had died and left them with no instructions of how to continue his ministry. He’d left no signs of forgiveness for their rude and unkind actions toward him. He’d left them without his commanding personality that might have shielded them from the worst of the crowd’s ridicule. So they were filled with fear, guilt, sadness, shame and more. And then…… Jesus rose from the dead.
They knew they deserved scorn and anger. They knew they had been “we’ll follow IF” Christians when Jesus had simply been looking for eager belief. They thought it was “finished” – he’d even said so. But all of a sudden, it wasn’t finished – it was just beginning. There was no scorn only peace and the willingness to forgive. He put out his hand and said again, “Follow me, for I am the One who can give you peace.” The young gal declared, when asked why Jesus went to the cross, “Jesus went to the cross because his Dad asked him to…..” Perhaps this Easter we can do the same…..we can believe that Jesus lives for us, simply because he asks us to believe this. How amazing could Easter be then?! Love, Rev. Deb