On Saturday our church, like many, hosted an Easter egg hunt. I love this tradition, and how it crosses the boundaries between secular and sacred, serious and fun, mixing delight with devotion. Some Christians through the ages haven’t particularly enjoyed those crossovers, but I think Jesus would’ve been okay with them.
After all, when faith intersects with real life and contemporary culture, the lines aren’t always cleanly drawn. But who doesn’t smile at a 2-year-old in her Easter dress and white patent shoes squealing with pleasure when she locates a “hidden” egg lying in plain view? Who can watch a middle schooler hiding eggs for younger kids and not see the traditions of faith and helping being passed down to a new generation? Who doesn’t love finding a surprise inside a plastic egg?
We churches have not always done a good job of helping children and adults find things about their faith they can touch and see. Yes, there are bread and wine (or juice). There are sometimes drama and art. In church school classes there are crafts to go along with the lessons.
But it’s fitting that at Easter we make a point to remind ourselves that Jesus was human and could be seen and touched, that he held children on his lap and probably even played games of hiding and finding with them.
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it… [from I John 1] After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord… But Thomas … was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side…” [from John 20]
As you empty your Easter basket this week, piece by chocolate piece, and eat your bunny one body part at a time, keep in mind that we have a faith that isn’t just spiritual. It is as physical as the scarred hands held out for a friend to touch and see. It is as joyful as a child’s elated shout or as the surprised gratitude of those who thought they’d lost someone, only to find he was still in their midst.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2012