“In a planet that has apparently gone berserk, hope dims. In an economy that has plummeted, dreams shatter. In a world where wars continue to be fought, fear cripples. In a society where man becomes increasingly inhuman to his fellowman, trust perishes.
But we still hope. We pin our hopes on Someone who conquered hopelessness by curing the sick, feeding the hungry, mending the brokenhearted. We pin our hopes on Someone who overcame forsakenness by being helplessly nailed to a tree. We pin our hopes on Someone who has broken through the absurdity of a dark and despicable tomb. We hope in a Risen Lord!
We are a people of hope. We don’t hang our star on material possessions. We don’t hook our star on superficial happiness that comes from fleeting amusements and allurements. We don’t hang our star on the false sense of security that comes from military might and technology. All these are good and beneficial to us. But they can fail. And they have failed us before. And they are not forever.
Our ultimate hope is on a super-event. It was an explosion of life and grace. It was the dawning of the fulfillment of every human being’s deepest longing: inextinguishable happiness. This event is Easter.
We are an Easter People!”
We are an Easter people. Hope abounds. It is not a hope based on a superficial optimism that is blind to the reality of suffering in the world. Rather, it is a deep trust in God and His love for us. This is not a season for despair or worry. Easter calls us to embrace the freedom from fear, and to hold onto the life, the peace, and the joy that Jesus died to give all of us.
We are an Easter people. With the hope of Easter so close to me, it’s easy to believe. But then I return to my life. I face my trials. I see the news headlines. And I’m tempted to give in to anger or doubt or even despair.
My heart has its ups and downs. My faith isn’t as steady as I’d like it to be; yet, this Easter season is a good reminder that some things never change. The only one who can rob us from the joy that comes with being a Christian is ourselves. We are sure to lose much in life – jobs, loved ones, financial security, freedoms, good health, confidence in our future happiness and in the path of our life. Then there is God. He remains. He does not shift with the wind or with our woes. He is forever. Love is forever. No one can take that away from us. I need to bury my doubt and let God and love live.
My children reminded me of that this morning. On Holy Saturday, I broke down in my mama’s arms (at 31, I’m still her baby). I won’t go into the boring details of my sob story, but I was just feeling hopeless and fearful for my children and their future in a wobbly world. My mom didn’t judge me or admonish my foolish tears. Instead, she hugged me and said, “It will be fine.”
This morning as I watched my children in their smocked dresses, smiling, and bubbling with the excitement of Easter morning, I knew she was right. Everything was going to fine.
Then my five-year-old announced, triumphantly, “We can say, ‘Alleluia!’ again, Mommy!”
That’s what Jesus gave us on that first Easter: A reason to say, “Alleluia!” again, a reason to hope.
This is what my children give me, too.
Last Easter we were rejoicing after welcoming a new baby to our family.
Now the “new life” we rejoiced over last year is a wiggly soon-to-be toddler. Yet, she’s still a reminder to celebrate. So are her sisters.
Children are hope. They are happiness. Sometimes they are a messy version of happiness with mud splatters all over their new clothes or crayon scribbles on your walls. Even when they hijack your sleep and poop on the floor (again), they are a constant reminder that the future is worth investing in and believing in even when the forecast calls for cloudy skies ahead. (Besides, forecasts are so often inaccurate. It’s better to put your hope in the sun than to resign yourself to a storm that may never come.)
Children don’t need a homily to remind them to choose to joy. They are naturally Easter people. Like Jesus, they give life to the world and show us all how to live. My children are my daily reminder to rejoice, to trust, to believe, and to sing, “Alleluia!” again and again.
And, yes, comments are opened back up again. While it was a fruitful exercise to keep them closed during Lent, I admit I missed hearing from you guys. :-)