The Easter That Came and Went

"I'm not getting the mom-of-the-year award in regards to Easter this year," I said to my oldest son, Reese. Easter is inching closer, and I'm not doing all the "stuff" I normally do with the family. While I enjoy celebrating the day of Easter, it is difficult for me to capture the reason we are celebrating if we leave it to just the one day.

Reese gave me what he thought was encouragement, "I don't even remember what we normally do around Easter, so it seems like you're doing just fine to me."

I burst out with laughter as I recalled the HOURS spent each year creating memorable experiences for our family, only to find out that I'm the only one who recalls them! Come to think of it, I do not recall celebrating/remembering Easter season last year either. I remember going into lockdown, I remember what was happening with ministry/work, I remember my mother-in-law not being able to have her annual trip to see us, I especially remember all that erupted regarding justice issues and politics and how frustrated and helpless I felt... I remember all these things, but I don't remember what we did surrounding Easter.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt, many who were there to recognize Passover, laid coats on the road before him or waved palm branches, shouting, "Hosanna!" It was a fun party, right?

Passover in the occupied Jewish homeland was a tinderbox situation because they were celebrating freedom from their historical oppression in Egypt while they were under oppression from Rome. Having so many Jews in a concentrated area would be a politically dangerous situation in the eyes of the Roman leadership. There were likely standing orders between the Roman government and the High Priests for what to do if anyone incited a riot or did anything out of order during Passover.

So the Jews were in Jerusalem to technically celebrate the historical acts of God, but they were also very focused on the circumstances and politics of the day - especially since Jesus had been causing quite a stir with His miracles and teaching... maybe, just maybe, this Jesus was the leader they needed to get them out of this rhetoric. Their shouts as Jesus entered Jerusalem was a quote of Psalm 118:25-26, meaning "Please, Lord, please save us!"

When Jesus, landed Himself on the cross, their hopes were quickly squelched. The style and the speed by which Jesus was crucified suggests that He was perceived, at least by His executioners, as a lower class person seeking to subvert an established institution - this certainly doesn't meet the expectations of the Messiah or the next great political leader. While those closest to Jesus remained committed, many turned their backs - disappointed, discouraged, angered. Some of the same people who shouted, "Hosanna" later shouted "crucify Him," and others just quietly headed back to their home town. All these people came to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover but mostly went home thinking about their disappointment regarding their circumstances remaining (seemingly) unchanged. Passover came and went.

No wonder last Easter came and went for me. I was largely focused on my circumstances - things were not solved in the way I wanted and in the time frame I wanted. It was (is) disappointing, discouraging, and sometimes still stirs up anger in me. Some of the Jews were so focused on the circumstances at hand that they missed the miracle, the bigger picture. I wonder, if the virus had diminished with the Easter season or if all of the political environment would have miraculously been resolved, would we have given God any acknowledgement? Would we all love each other better? Would we, one year later, feel satisfied?

The disciples and Jesus' closest followers must have felt so much confusion and pain after the cross, but they stuck together, returned to the tomb, and remained on lookout. Jesus was not a political leader; He was the Messiah, and the tomb was not the end but the beginning. They all thought they wanted Jesus the political leader, but they got so much more - sadly, apart from the disciples, many failed to see it.

When I try to control how God manages the situation right in front of me, so much of what He does just passes by - I miss it all... the anticipation, the glory, the wow, the miracle, the victory, the peace, the joy, the satisfaction. Time will pass by with nothing to show for it. A year later, I'll look up and it's the "same ol' same ol'," like a daytime soap opera whose plot never changes!

This Easter just almost passed me by. I'm sitting over here shouting "Save me, Lord, save me," and I'm largely wanting Him to save me from my not-so-awesome parenting, my blahs, my grief, my busyness, and all the circumstances that still exist today that existed a year ago. Desiring and going to Him with these things isn't wrong (in fact, that's exactly what I should be doing), but if I can use this season to do what it's designed to do - look to God's past plans and follow through (Passover, Easter, Pentecost, or our own personal experiences) it will put me on a whole new playing field - a place of anticipation and joy because God is a lover of our souls and a sock-knocker-offer. Season after season, year after year, generation after generation - He is good and is always at work on our behalf. As writer and speaker Barbara Roose said, "God can take a long time to do something instantly."

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11 (spoken right after He said He would fulfill the promise after 70 years)

Now, let's go celebrate the Easter season.

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2 thoughts on “The Easter That Came and Went”

  1. great piece of work. are you a writer by chance, if not I know you are great at this, God inspired, I too have felt these feelings of the last year. I still know he has great plans for us, Blessings gurl

    1. Thanks, Jim. Thank you for all your love and support. Cheers to making lots of meaningful Easter memories (that can actually be remembered) this year!

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