Sunday, March 29, 2009

Flying the Coop

We are leaving for Thailand in the morning for a few days of vacation and ten days of meetings. I am hoping (and praying) that time in the sunshine and swimming pool will help Nathan sleep. Otherwise two weeks in a hotel room could be less like heaven and more like...well, let's just say we'll all be miserable.

Before I sign off for two weeks, I want to tell you about Caleb's Sunday school class this morning. It was classic. I was listening in because there is no nursery for babies or toddlers, and Nathan has outgrown sitting quietly on our laps. The teacher was telling the Easter story and framed it as two things that happened--one very sad thing and one very good thing. Immediately one of the boys raised his hand, holding it at the elbow and hopping up and down. "Ooooh ooh ooh...I know the good thing!" he insisted. The teacher paused, and he snatched his opportunity. "We get chocolate!" he grinned. The teacher quickly moved on but not before he won a few snickers from the two or three of us restraining our toddlers in the corner.

The teacher went on to tell the kids about the cross and the terrible death of Christ. She talked about Jesus being shut in a tomb guarded by soldiers. One little boy was listening wide-eyed. The teacher reached for the next picture, but he could no longer contain himself. Horror stricken, he shouted, "NO! God can not die!" His eyes grew large and his voice quivered with the force of his certainty and his fear.

It struck me later that I forget to be horrified at the idea of a world without God. My emotions have been stunted by time and busyness and familiarity. I am no longer shocked and shaken by the death of Christ. I am not so relieved by his ressurection that I breathe more slowly and settle back into my seat. It's an old story and one I know well, too well. As I approach Easter, I want to take time to listen to the story again but with fresh ears--the ears of a child.

I wish you all a very meaningful Easter celebration. I will write again after we return to Vietnam.


  1. Travelling mercies for you and your family. I, too, need to celebrate Easter with a childlike spirit. And every day, too.

  2. What a great reminder! Thanks for sharing this story. Have a great, safe, fun, and hopefully sleep-filled vacation!

  3. Thank you, Heather, for this perspective.
    In German churches there is a very strong tradition of sadness, sorrow, mourning for Good Friday services, so much so that I actually had to take the opposite tack last year when I preached on Good Friday, pointing out that we can indeed celebrate on Good Friday, because, unlike the disciples at the time, we know how it ends – and although His suffering (for our sakes) hurts us, the fact that He was willing to do so, that He loves us so much, is something to be reflectively happy about.
    Nevertheless, it does me a great deal of good to consider the childlike understanding you speak of – this is something very different from the tradition I tried to counteract last year!