I followed what was the habits at the Hayes house, where I grew up. My children got new clothes, at least when they were small and would let me dress them. The Easter bunny left goodies. Ours was neat: he scattered the treats on squares of paper towel, labeled A or Z. Before church, the hunt was on but ours was also obvious: stairs, couch, kitchen counter. One kiddo loved Peeps. One loved Cadbury eggs. Mom ended up with lots of jelly beans, especially the black ones.
I don’t know when Easter turned into Christmas 2 but I didn’t go along with that. It may seem contradictory but, although I don’t mind the commercialization of Christmas, I believed and believe that Easter is sacred. No judgment of others….the gifts and such are good for commerce and that’s good for the US. I love the baby in the manger and the gifts reminding us of the gifts of the Magi, although those did come a while after the Bethlehem birth.
But Easter is at the core of our faith: Christ died, paid the price, and rose from the dead. Death is conquered; death is swallowed up in eternal life. I choose to meditate on that and for me, too black jellies get in the way.
This year, I spent Easter weekend in Houston where my brother-in-law performed at the 2nd Baptist Church. Sister Kris and many of their friends joined us. Besides the glorious services, we supped on some amazing Houston cuisine. Later today, I’ll fly back to Indiana and drive to Kokomo. I’ve marked Monday for my last run through at the old homestead and then I’ll take up residence in Winona Lake.
I love the remembrance of the crucifixion and Christ’s resurrection. For most of the Good Friday service, I found myself with tears running down my face. My sis mentioned that last year, the first Easter without our sister-in-law on this earth, she wept through most of the services. It’s good to know. All this glorious truth about eternal life and remembrances of those who have gone on…it’s a sweet sadness. We know, we really know, that Janelle, Mike, and so many others are walking in glory with God and the other saints. We joy in this. And we miss them, oh so much.
(I have found myself weeping in my home church. I was actually glad that my reaction is not reserved to that place where I love the people so.)
Pastor Ed Young gave a rousing message, using I Cor. 15:54-57 for his text. “Death where is thy sting?” Paul wanted us to acknowledge that God has conquered death; so the sting is temporary. But, I can chat with Paul about sting.
Dr.Young reminded us that mankind has two enemies: sin and death. Christ vanquished sin on the cross; His resurrection took care of death. Because He rose, we who accept Him will live forever.
As we were honored guests, we had a front row seat. Pastor Ed circled but quite often, he locked eyes with me and could see that I was weeping. He made a point find me after. Kris explained me. He said, “You know, we are in the land of the dying. Mike is in the land of the living. You wouldn’t want to bring him back, even if you could.”
True. My love resides in a glorified, healthy body in a place I long to go. For now, I stay here. I can take comfort in the truth of the resurrection.
But, this Easter means tears as I miss him. And now: to get on with my life.