Easter Jeans - Day 4
Humility > Hype
Welcome to the Easter Jeans reflection mini-series. I’m so glad you’re here! I’m trying something new. You may read the post in full below, or if you’d rather, you can also listen to it in audio format by clicking here: Easter Jeans Day 4
“I have seen the Lord!” John 20:18
Humility > Hype
For years and years, a week or so before Easter, a postcard arrives in the mail advertising a FREE HELICOPTER EASTER EGG DROP! Every year, I toss it in the trash, not because we’re above it all, but precisely because we are not. There is nothing my kids, especially when they were younger, would love more than to believe the spirit of Easter is held within the big, ridiculous, flashy grand gesture.
Disclaimer: Helicopters aren’t inherently “bad,” nor are eggs filled with candy. You might be feverishly stuffing eggs as we speak, or even firing up the chopper. I’m not here to throw jelly beans. The fluff of Easter is fun but it bears frequent reminders – “fun” is not the home our hearts long for.
Like Mary Magdalene in the garden of the tomb, we want to see the Lord.
I’m here to humbly suggest that His presence is most palpable in overlooked, unflashy, unfussy places and faces. He spent his time with people who wouldn’t have warranted a second glance. Isn’t that a comfort? Jesus was a quiet revolutionary in worn-out Easter jeans.
The first time my family made a conscious effort to Easter with the people near us who had no backup Easter plan of their own was as weird and wonderful as we had hoped. We gathered without pretense, a hodgepodge of loners and lovers, the drifters and the deeply misunderstood. For the first time, our celebration was not crafted exclusively from family tradition but stitched and patched from a shared place and a familiar hunger.
Lisa helped me glaze the ham. Josh asked for the recipe for the potatoes. Becca put Stephanie at ease. Jesse swung the kids around by their arms until one of them legitimately thought he might puke. Cory held the brand new baby. And as Brian zipped out the door to meet his work release curfew, he locked eyes with me, kissing the tips of his fingers like an Italian chef. No big surprise, we all love pie.
Since that year, the gatherings have varied. Like many of us, the past two years found us huddled up in our own house, doing our best to mark the day as we swatted away the boredom and a low rumble of sadness. This year will be its own unique blend of family and chosen family – no two Easters alike.
I don’t know what the day will bring, how I’ll feel, what might go wrong, who will take me by surprise, or make me laugh the hardest. I’ve mostly stopped wishing for the big spiritual moments. All I really want is the will to stay awake to whatever the day brings.
This perspective does come with some risk. To abandon our impulse to control the outcomes or try to strong-arm a happier ending, is to stare at the warp of this world and believe God is present in every bit of it. Attentiveness promises us confusion, disappointment, and yes, absolutely, delight.
I'm becoming more convinced that this is how God moves among us. This is how the kingdom comes down to meet us, not so much through the grand gesture but in quietly compelling our hearts toward togetherness. We chop broccoli. We look each other in the eye. We offer our broken hearts with shaking hands, choosing hope over history.
Eastering together, we embody the spirit of communion. We experience the pain life brings and clink our solo cups together anyway, knowing our hope will not run dry. “The resurrection Spirit is about relationships, not religion,” Pastor Dick once said.
Today might be blue skies, cherry blossoms, and dinnertime conversation that never veers toward controversy, praise God.
Or, today might be hard and our hearts tired.
It’ll likely be a little of both.
Circled around the same table with our paper plates and our profound relief, we receive the shimmering gift of belonging. Ever-steady and to the end of days, resurrection splits the ground where we’re standing and blooms.
We are free.
One Simple Way to Rethink Easter
Beloveds, Easter is here, the tomb is empty, and we have done enough. (Especially if we believe otherwise.) Regardless of the particulars, what’s left is to receive Jesus’ resurrection with a renewed commitment to live it.
It is in this resurrection spirit that I share one of my favorite songs, especially this time of year, by Audrey Assad. The expansive view of God’s careful love for us is the actual best news I know.