While scrolling through my social media feeds, I’m starting to see photos of seas of children running with baskets through grassy fields. It’s a yearly reminder of a ritual with which I have no connection or understanding. I didn’t grow up with any consistency in holiday traditions. Birthdays and Halloween were hit and miss, Christmas was a holiday for other kids, and Easter was barely a blip on my radar. I found my own way of staying invisible while gliding through the days when everybody stops and turns their collective attention to a monument I couldn’t see.
I acknowledge that there is a minor note of sadness to not having some of that magic as a child. I’m only saying that because of the excitement and anticipation I see in other kids during these times. But, I also see the mild confusion when it’s over, getting in trouble for saying things like, “is that it?”, while surrounded with different seasonal flavors, sounds, and textures that the adults prepared. I also see the emotional crash from the sugar high a few hours later. If it’s a physical practice to learn a bigger story, the approach is disconnected at best and irresponsible at worst.
Adults tell the kid that a special day is coming. They plan and prepare for the appropriate rituals of decor, food, and activities while the child bubbles with anticipation. They dress the child up and put on a show of mystery and magic. “I don’t know where that Easter basket came from!” And, I have no idea what they tell the kids about the mysterious eggs they have to search out. Who put them there? The prolifically fertile Easter bunny?
I’m confused about the end game. I know I’m not a kid, so my view has way too much logic, but they’re sending kids out on a cold Spring day to search for things that they can’t eat, if they’re actually eggs. Or, if it’s candy-filled plastic, they’ll get a groin kick to their immune system if they do eat it. I don’t know, maybe the eggs are filled with money and the kids are out there practicing what they’ll do for the rest of their lives — searching for the golden egg with the highest payout.
But, what about Jesus? Where does He come in to this ritual? I became a Christian as an adult, and an actual believer as an even older adult. I don’t understand why people spend so much time and resources on something that makes no sense. I must be missing something. I did a little research and discovered that most of the symbols of Easter are associated with fertility and Spring. I even discovered that the egg is a symbol of the tomb of Jesus? Doesn’t that stretch feel really uncomfortable?
I’m sensitive to lost opportunities to teach people about the story of Jesus. It’s life saving and it needs to be practiced like any other life-saving technique. Thinking back to when I needed it, I found people collectively distracted by busy work rather than people living an aggressive Gospel. Why aren’t kids taught what to do when one of them falls in their spirit? It’s a meaningful intersection of spiritual existence –to battle with the lies within one’s self. “You’ve ruined it.” “God is so disappointed with you.” “You can’t come back from this.” “You’re tainted.” I know these voices and I know how vicious the battle for one’s faith can be. It’s easier to believe in your lack of worth because the evidence is tangible. It’s hard to believe in grace and redemption because you have to lose yourself to it. It’s even harder if nobody else is believing it with or for you.
Easter is the prime breeding ground to tell the story of a risen Savior and clarify what that means for humanity, but it’s one of the few Sunday school lessons that gets cut short to leave time for the festivities. Even if it’s not cut short, it’s a widely ignored side note amidst the fashion show and the main event. The group of people who actually showed up to the place where Spiritual first-aid is taught, are lined up with baskets and sent off in search of trinkets that have nothing to do with Jesus.
I’m not your typical human, and I realize I might be missing something in this whole ritual. But, I’m not missing the glaring results of a group of people who don’t know how to handle it when one of their own needs the Gospel. I don’t care about fertile rabbits and trying to associate the story of a risen Savior with an egg hunt. I mean, if that was the case, wouldn’t the candy (Jesus) break from the egg (tomb) and hunt the people? But, that’s scary and weird and I’m all done talking about it.
“I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God.”– Galatians 1:6-7 MSG