Some of it is hard to get through, and I was struggling with the genealogy at the beginning of 1 Chronicles Monday morning when Luke got up. He squirreled his way under the quilt with me, tucked himself under my arm, and said, "Read about Jesus." Sometimes when he asks this, I tell him no because I'm reading about something else and I don't want to stop. This particular morning, having just come off of our first weekend of Easter celebration with our children's department at church, I asked him, "Which part?"
"The soldiers and the tomb."
He loves the story of the resurrection. So do I. I love it more, even, than the story of the newborn king. It is the very heart of my faith. I've often wondered why we don't make a big deal about Easter like we do about Christmas, but I've come to the realization that I like it without all the pomp and circumstance. I like the muted, quiet, day-to-day celebration of the resurrection. It allows me to focus on my Savior instead of on my to-do list.
I turned to Matthew 27:27 and I read through the end of the book - to make sure we covered soldiers and the empty tomb, you know.
He knows the Easter story, of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey as the people waved palm fronds, the washing of the disciples feet at the last supper, the lashing of the whip, the death on the cross, the burial, and the empty tomb. He knows all of these things because we (his village) break it into kid-sized bits and serve it to him in a kid-friendly way - and he gets it. And so do I. Just like I savor a kid-friendly food at a birthday party, I savor the kid-sized presentation of the gospel. It happens every time I'm involved in children's ministry - I learn from those who are wiser than me, who know how to teach the gospel in a way that a 3 year old can understand and fall in love with the story. And I learn from the kids. Man, they know so much.
As I read to him, I thought about all the parts of the story and how there's so much more to it than just "the soldiers and the tomb." Like the Christmas story, it is told across multiple books, by four different authors, so each book provides a different piece of the story. I remembered a blog post I wrote that linked the passages of the Christmas story in sequential order, and I decided I should do something similar for Easter. I've never written much about Easter, except about that stinkin' bunny.
Here are the links to the story.
Betrayal, Last Supper, Denial, Prayer, Arrest, Trials, Mocking, Death and Resurrection - Matthew 26:14 - 28:17
Betrayal, Last Supper, Denial, Prayer, Arrest, Trials, Mocking, Death and Resurrection, and Appearance to Mary Magdalene - Mark 14:12 - 16:20
Betrayal, Last Supper, Denial, Prayer, Arrest, Trials, Mocking, Death, Resurrection, Appearance to the Disciples, Ascension into Heaven - Luke 22:1 - 24:53
Prayer for Disciples and Believers (one of my favorite passages), Arrest, Denial, Trials, Death, Resurrection, Appearance to Disciples, and Doubting Thomas. - John 17:1 - 20:31
As for our Easter celebration, this Sunday we'll mark the beginning of Holy Week. I'll scrub them clean of their self-drawn tattoos and make them wear clothes that match so that we look, at least, presentable when they parade around the church with their palm leaves, and Sunday evening, we'll watch Dave play Peter in The Living Last Supper. Then, we'll spend a week answering a thousand more questions about Easter, and it will be good.