Saturday, April 23, 2011

In Which We Survey the Wonderous Cross

Easter is pretty fantastic at our house.  We start with observing Passover (hooray for my 7 year old who can expound on the foreshadowing in Exodus of Christ's sacrifice....he definitely doesn't have a religion major for a mother...) and then observe several rather somber holy days including Maundy Thursday (this year with 100% more Catholic as we were able to attend a Stations of the Cross, which was awesome!) and Good Friday, which I typically attend alone because I cry.

Sometimes I forget about Jesus altogether.  I can admit that.  There are days when I am overwhelmed by all the junk in my day and I forget that my actions are supposed to reflect Him.  I'm not proud of it, but it's true.  Knowing that is why His sacrifice, in spite of my complete and utter failure to ever get things right, is so overwhelming.

One of the rectors at the service I attended talked from the perspective of Simon the Cyrene, the man who was forced to help Jesus carry the cross when He, after being brutally beaten, could no longer manage to drag it.  The rector, speaking as Simon, recounted Jesus falling and silently wishing that He would just stay down, that the suffering would end, but Jesus would pull himself up with eyes resolute, fixed on the end, on the suffering, on the death that He knew He must endure for each of us.  Riley asked me for the first time this year why Jesus didn't get down off the cross.  He's God, after all.  He healed the sick and rose the dead, so it seems rather simple to get off a cross.  I've been waiting to tell him the answer to that question his whole little life.  "He chose to stay, Riley.  The nails didn't hold Jesus to the cross.  Jesus Held himself because He knew that for all of us to be forgiven, so that we could have eternal life with Him in Heaven, He had to die as a sacrifice.  Love for you held Him there, not metal."  Riley cried, too.  He's very like me sometimes, that little boy. 

How amazing to be loved so much.  In the Simon monologue, the rector then recounted "I'd come to Jerusalem on pilgrimage to celebrate the passover, and now, touching Jesus as He died, I was unclean, ceremonially unfit to observe the seder.  But as I thought about it, the blood of the lamb would not be on my doorposts that night, because it was already on me, it covered me." 

I hope that I have taught my children to observe Easter and the holy mystery that it represents with both joy and reverence.  This CS Lewis quote has always spoken to me about our observance of holidays.  I want our children to know that beyond the eggs and the candy, there is so much more happening.  With God's grace, I hope that I can succeed.

There is a stage in a child’s life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter. I have been told of a very small and very devout boy who was heard murmuring to himself on Easter morning a poem of his own composition which began ‘Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen.’ This seems to me, for his age, both admirable poetry and admirable piety. But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and festal aspect of Easter; chocolate eggs will no longer seem sacramental. And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first. If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs; if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat. They will have taken on an independent, and therefore a soon withering, life.” ~C. S. Lewis
Post a Comment