From a child’s perspective, it might seem that Easter is something we remember about the past more than the future. Children hear the well-known narratives of Palm Sunday, Judas’ betrayal, Pilot’s decision, the dark hour of Calvary, and the glorious morning of the empty tomb. A child listens to the dramatic story of Jesus and the cross, but on Tuesday morning - it’s time to go back to school and the NHL playoffs are around the corner. What does it all mean, and how are things different?
I heard a great quote on the radio this weekend while travelling to a family gathering. When we refer to someone whose health has been affected by sickness or disease, we often say that s/he “is only a shadow of their former self.” They no longer represent the fullness of character, the spark of life, the vigor of determination or perhaps even the zest for life that they once were known for. The wise voice on the radio offered this gem to mull over: “In the death and resurrection of our Lord, we come to realize that we – in our present state, even squeaky clean as we might be on Easter Sunday worshipping in the joy of an empty tomb, are only a shadow of our future self.” We are given the gift of opportunity to become more alive, rather than less, as we grow in faith. At our Christian school we want our children to desire that future “new” self, the coming kingdom, and be motivated in heart and mind toward service in God’s kingdom here on earth.
Children have incredible ability to be a source of delight to us as parents. Their joy, love, curiosity, and genuine moments of faith in responding to their creator are often humbling. We also see that balanced with the ability to disappoint us with their moments of indiscretion, indifference, poor choices, and selfishness. No one, child or adult, wants to be forever defined solely by those weak moments. This is the perspective that Easter affords us: our identity is not in what we can manage to accomplish (or fail to) - our children are “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” (Colossians 3:12). We are freely and entirely loved before we are anything else. Praise God for new life in Christ!