Yesterday was the Easter Eggstravaganza at Bethany UMC, an annual Easter egg hunt that has been a tradition at many churches. The Eggstravaganza also saw the continuation of another annual tradition (or so it seems) – a snowstorm! Not surprising for spring in Denver.
The children were very excited all morning and barely made it through their Sunday school lesson for Palm Sunday. Lunch was served and activities began. Pastor Betty played “Simon Says” while I set up the crafts, knowing full well that the children would only do the crafts because they needed to keep busy before the egg hunt. The parents enjoyed the time to catch up with one another. It was noisy, busy, and awesome. Then, the time came for the Hunt. Joel, the dad in charge of hiding eggs, explained to the children where they would find the exact eggs suited for their age level – and, by the way – no running! So as they all took off at a fast walk, and the parents eagerly followed to watch the mayhem. The length of time to find about 300 eggs for 20 children is so much faster than the time it takes to hide the eggs!
As the children sat on the floor of the Fellowship Hall and emptied the plastic eggs, I was struck by how – if only for a few minutes – there was complete happiness in that room. Parents were smiling and talking with their children (and sneaking a piece of candy now and then), the children were excited about what might be in the next egg, and even those with peanut allergies quickly assessed whether a piece of candy was safe to have or not, and if not, just laid it aside. It’s astounding how a piece of candy discreetly hidden in a plastic egg shell can bring a community together.
As Easter morning awaits silently with its discreetly hidden sweetness in the darkness of a tomb, I eagerly await the happiness and joy the message of Resurrection will bring to that same community that was so excited by a bunch of plastic eggs. How do we, as church professionals, present that most sacred of experiences to a world that craves a quick bite of sweetness? I believe the answer lies in encouraging and engaging in community. As we become comfortable with one another, in the presence of the happiness of children as they find plastic eggs, we can see that God is present with us – laughing and enjoying the time we have together.
When the community is gathered, the lessons of new life emerges. The new life that comes when one in the community is hurting and the rest of the community shows their support. The community consists of broken individuals, and because of those experiences each person has just that much more to share with others… and healing begins.
That’s what resurrection is all about: new life experienced in a new way, with new energy and new hope. Jesus the Christ leads the way for us through his own resurrection story – and joy prevails.
Grace and Peace to you this Easter season.