Sunday, April 08, 2007

My "Sunday school" lession this morning...

When I was growing up, Easter meant a lot of things for me. It meant going over to grandma’s to try on the matching dresses that she would make for me and Amy when we were young enough to not be bothered by that. It meant posing for pictures once those dresses were made. For me it meant pretending to like being dressed up. (Some things never change). It also meant a hunt. Just as at Christmas when we would come downstairs surprised and delighted by all the things Santa had left us, Amy and I would scour the house searching for Easter baskets filled with candy and books and toys, squealing with victory at every new find. When Emily came along and I was in high school, it meant “not seeing” some of the baskets that were strategically placed just for little Emily to find. And like my grandma at Christmas who used to always say, “Oooh, I forgot one!” and go running off to some closet to find and quickly wrap a present, if Amy and I came up with an odd number of baskets (or when Emily came along, a number not divisible by three) then we were missing a basket. Mom would count in her head and look at the gifts she’d usually bought and then look at dad inquisitively. He’d usually have hid the baskets and would then nonchalantly go over the baskets and where we’d found them. Dad would figure out in his head where the missing basket was, pretend to look with us, and then “find it.” If Amy and I were at our wits end about where the basket was, we’d play “hot and cold” with Dad and Mom until we found that last one. Then we’d divide all the booty so that each girl had the same amount. Sometimes you could tell whose basket was whose. For a while I was really into dissecting worms so the science book would be for me (who knew!) and Amy loved dolphins and having her ears pierced, so the dolphin earring were obviously hers.

Later in childhood, I discovered Easter was about Jesus dying on the cross. I think the resurrection part was mentioned too, but man it was the dying and being dead for THREE days that really stayed with me. Easter meant Jesus died, and I got a new dress and presents. What a non-sequiter. In college it began to mean family. One of my best friends in college was a girl from Texas who obviously didn’t have time to go home for Easter. So every year she would come home with me. By this time, we no longer searched very hard for baskets. They’d be hidden in the usual places. And by the time I was a senior, my mom was sick of filling baskets, so there’d just be four – one for Ann, Amy, Emily and Julie. I loved that about my parents. They always bought Julie presents and she got her own basket. My parents taught me true hospitality and true family.

When Julie would come to town, she would roll down the window on the way to church and yell to no one in particular, “He is risen!” At first it embarrassed me. But she insisted because that’s what she and her dad had always yelled every Easter. By my senior year I had joined in the yelling-out-the-car-window. And at some point in there, the resurrection became more important than the dying.

My story of understanding Easter goes on through seminary when I discovered Lent; through three different churches and how they viewed worship and this season, and even to experiences I’ve had over the past few days here at FBC. But my story is too long to tell anymore today.

What are some memories you’ve had of Easter growing up over the years?
What did Easter mean to you as a child?
What did Easter mean to you as a teen?
What does Easter mean to you now?
What do you think Easter should mean?

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