As a child, Easter was a time of chocolate eggs (I couldn’t stand those with marshmallows in them), jelly beans, and a family gathering with my Mom’s relatives, all of whom lived in the Chicago area. The Easter Bunny was very real to me; it didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand how he acquired eggs and delivered them all over the world like Santa delivering gifts. I didn’t ponder the odd combination of living rabbits and candy.
Going to church was a given; we had new outfits to wear, most of which I wasn’t fond of. I’d heard the story countless times of how Jesus died on the cross for us so that we could know God. When I would see a cross with Jesus on it, blood flowing and a crown of thorns on His head, it made me sad. Who would hurt such a nice Man?
I didn’t understand any of it. Quite honestly, it was easier to focus on chocolate eggs and super rabbits.
Now? No community egg hunts. Any candy purchased for little ones will be mostly done online. Family gatherings, unless people are sheltering together, won’t happen. Schools aren’t sending home fun crafts that children did in school to commemorate this holiday–only valued as the big bunny show.
It’s like the Easter Bunny is missing in action.
The real meaning of Easter is more significant now than ever. People are isolated from friends and family, working virtually, or serving others in jobs that put them at risk–all the medical people, truck drivers, those who deliver groceries and prepared food, and so many more who serve behind the scenes to make life as comfortable as they can in these disruptive times. We’ve been given time to ponder truth; we’re faced with our own mortality and that of those we love.
If that is our reality, how do we respond? Trapped by feeling alone, afraid, out of control?
More than ever we need to recognize the gift of Love God has given us. We’ve not been casually created and thrown into a world randomly by a God who is distant and aloof. We’ve been intentionally designed to love and be loved by a God who chose to show His ultimate compassion in the giving of His Son for us. To offer His own life in exchange for ours.
It doesn’t make sense. God, to be God, is perfect. A perfection that can’t tolerate chaos and mess. Which defines humanity. To create a means to connect with Him, He sent His perfect Son, to make the ultimate sacrifice for people who didn’t really care.
He loves us that much. Even in our most unloveable state.
Jesus has already carried the full weight of suffering for the whole world when He hung on the cross. He carries our burdens still, inviting us to allow Him to bear what we were never intended to carry on our own. He is neither bothered by the extreme of our brokenness nor is He overwhelmed by our hostility and misery.
Jesus never stops pursuing us, never gives up on us, never abandons us in our deepest sorrow or pain.
Can the bunny say that?