During our post-sunrise service, the Pastor asked for sharing of previous Easter experiences. What came to my mind was not particularly spiritual: the smell of vinegar as we dipped hard-boiled eggs in the colored dye solutions, singing “Here Comes Peter Cottontail Hopping Down the Bunny Trail” and “The Easter Parade” over and over, hunting for those hidden Easter eggs, and pretending to be asleep as my mother tip-toed into my bedroom and placed candy in my homespun Easter basket made from a plastic cottage cheese carton. I recalled new spring dresses, flowery hats, a matching purse, white gloves and white patent shoes–in my mind, black patent was for fall.
An especially early memory was leaving Sunday School as a child of around the age of five. We had constructed a small, paper Easter ‘basket’ and the teachers had placed some candy in said baskets. As my mother and I walked down some steps, another little girl dropped her basket and she cried as her candy spilled out all over the steps. I laughed… I thought it was hilarious. My mother admonished me; you see, I had 3 older brothers and having spent many hours–(nay, years with them!), I tended to take on some of their ‘rougher’ aspects–I was such a mean little poop! Oh, perhaps I shouldn’t blame my behavior on them though, as we know I was the one guilty of sin.
Easter Sunday after Easter Sunday. Candy, egg hunts, dressing up, Mom
drags takes us to church and Dad stays home, sitting on the couch, reading and who knows what all else. I marry, dress up my children, purchase Easter story books about the resurrection (“gee, that sure was sad… poor Jesus died on that cross, it must have really hurt!”, and as an adult, I still didn’t ‘connect the dots’), hide Easter eggs for them, fill their baskets with candy, and we make our appearance at Mass–listening but not really hearing, pretending but not really seeing. The veil has not been lifted, my eyes have not seen, I am lost in church. Lost in church! What a triumph for Satan!
The paradigm shift occurs; there is the personal recognition and admission of sin. There is forgiveness and love, hope and healing, all completed on a cross. Now I know why He died on that cross. I know what it means– for me and everyone in the world. I know the ‘why’ and the ‘for what’; I am no longer lost.
To look at that empty cross and think about what He did for me–paid the price–so I don’t have to. And there is freedom when we look at that cross… we don’t have to be the ‘old’ person, we can choose righteousness and godliness. I don’t have to laugh at people who hurt, or be vindictive. We have seen that God makes all things right, that He holds all the cards. ‘New life’ is not just for budding trees, flowers and baby animals. The old life died on the cross, the new life rose from the grave. Hallelujah!