Do you ever feel like an Easter failure? I do.
I’m not a very good Easter person.
It doesn’t help that usually the season in Minnesota is exceedingly ugly and inevitably it sleets or snows on Easter morning which makes celebrating resurrection and new life a little tough, but still…
Every year I pray to more fully enter into a deeper gut-understanding of what Christ did for me. And what it means.
And I feel guilty that I don’t FEEL it more deeply. That I’m not more horrified at my sin. That I can’t better enter into the pain of the cross.
I pray. I read the accounts of Jesus’ suffering for me. And I wonder, with Paul, why “God didn’t lose His temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy, and with incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin – dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did this all on His own, with no help from us!” (Eph. 2:4-6 MSG)
It’s just incomprehensible.
How can any of us grasp this? Both how wrong we are and how much we’re loved?
If I had to choose a life verse, I’d probably choose Deuteronomy 30:19 and 20 “This day I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…”
Choose life. I’m all about life. I want to choose life-giving actions, words, relationships, experiences…
But as I’ve been reflecting on Holy Week, it’s all about the death that we must journey through to get to life. So I’m thinking that in order to prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Easter, this week it would be good to choose death. In a way.
I have a few ideas, of how to do Easter with Jesus, but they’re just awkward attempts…kind of like when I’m throwing bean bags playing Cornhole and have no form, but am all about hopeful.
As we move into Holy Week, I’d really love to hear from you what you are doing to enter in, to prepare your hearts. Here are a few of my “death practices”…
1. I wrote on Ash Wednesday about my non-Catholic self, processing Lent. Yesterday I told Katy and Maggie that I was contemplating a fruit and yogurt fast for Holy week to make myself more aware of loss and to cleanse my body as a mirror of the cleansing of my soul that Jesus makes possible. I was nervous to tell anyone because I’m terrible at any kind of fast, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be held accountable and I was relieved when I told them because they were like “You can’t do THAT, Mom! That’s unhealthy!” and they gave me an easy out if I wanted it, but I’m choosing different kinds of fasts – “losing” something each day throughout the week – food, internet, phone, t.v….
2. I’m “Examening”. I’m not an icon gal, but I’ve found this palm cross on my bedside table is a great reminder to practice the Examen before I go to sleep – to look back over my day, replaying the different interactions like video clips, paying attention to when I felt the most alive to Jesus and when He seemed absent because I let sin get in the way. I always do this looking for life and praying with gratitude, but this week in particular I want to make sure I’m paying attention to death. To the sin I need to grieve and ask forgiveness for.
3. I’m trying to enter into the pain of friends and family who are experiencing loss and death right now. These are the people I want to be praying for, listening to, sitting with, and writing to this week.
4. And I’m trying to (ever so inadequately) walk this week of loss with Jesus, through a couple favorite devotionals that simply invite me into Scripture, lectio-like. No commentary.
These are just my feeble attempts to do Easter with Jesus. But the good news is, even if I fail at all of them, even if I still don’t really “get” it, Jesus will still rise on Sunday and each time I mess up I can be forgiven and He’ll say, “Let’s start again.”
Please share with us…what are you doing to prepare for Easter?