Our family traditions for Easter come from Switzerland and follow the Old World style of celebration with the children. My four daughters still sing (as best they can) the Osterhaslein song — Wieder gute Osterhase. (Alles für de eier!) It has nothing to do with faith or with religion, but it’s all about fun, candy and presents. Who doesn’t like to get a present? So we blend and create our Easter holiday to craft something that while anchored on personal faith, always includes family and even shirttail relatives – and sometimes their friends. I think that the largest gathering we’ve ever had was forty people, but that was some time ago. These days its usually under twenty. Today it should be between 14 and 20 depending on who comes and who decides not to.
No one is exempt from tragedy or disappointment – God Himself was not exempt. Jesus offered no immunity, no way out of the unfairness, but rather a way THROUGH it to the other side. Just as Good Friday demolished the instinctive belief that this life is supposed to be fair, Easter Sunday followed with its startling clue to the riddle of the universe. Out of the darkness, a bright light shone.
The primal desire for fairness dies hard, and it should. Who among us does not sometimes yearn for more justice in this world here and now. Secretly, I admit, I yearn for a world “fault-proof” against disappointment, a world where my work always finds acceptance and my body does not grow old and weak, where sickness and terror do not run rampant. But if I stake my faith on such a fault-proof earth, my faith will let me down. Even the greatest of miracles do not resolve the problems of this earth: all people who find physical healing eventually die.
To be commanded to love God when we are left alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken (or our heart is). But this is the first and greatest commandment, nonetheless. Even in the wilderness, especially in the wilderness – you shall love Him.
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And from my family to all of yours, Happy Easter!