Easter is complicated. No, I’m not referring to the debate over whether Christians should participate in a day associated with depraved things like eggs. And bunnies. And *gasp* a day on the calendar that acknowledges the life-sustaining existence of the SUN.
Though we didn’t worship any pagan deities over the weekend, we absolutely reveled in the sunlight, in the arrival of spring and in the hope of the Resurrection.
We gifted the girls ribbon kites and wooden play eggs rather than dyeing real eggs because we’re just not that into egg salad or
deviled twice-yolked eggs.
It was a weekend spent enjoying gifts of nature, festivities, friends and family. All of these things are the icing on the cake.
The real gift, of course, is that God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all. And that is where it gets complicated for me. I’m not bothered my kids expect candy on Easter. What’s more important to me is that they understand there’s more to Easter than a personal celebration of a Get Out of Hell Free card. I never want to be so smug or lackadaisical in my salvation that I forget there’s a whole world out there enduring all the pain and suffering of hell in the here and now.
On Sunday my children wore crisp, new shirts from their grandparents, ate from full plates and were surrounded by people who love them. But a shadow was cast over the joy of the day. It is the shadow of unrest in Ukraine. It is the shadow of bombing and kidnapping in Nigeria. It is the shadow of civil war in Syria. It is the shadow of famine, of slavery, of disease. How can I reconcile these things with Easter Sunday?
Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The people of this world living under the shadow of oppression are keenly aware of the suffering of Christ. Perhaps Easter is more real in the filthiest pit of Earth than at a lavish table spread. Rather than getting caught up in presents and pageantry, I want my children to know we are connected to a world in need. Rather than simply filling our proverbial baskets with good things, I desire to be equipped in order to share and to serve. I want to teach my children to cling to the cross, to the unconquerable love of God.