Somehow, for me, it always comes back to the example of Easter morning, just like any Sunday of getting to church but several hours earlier. A tale of truth for many well-intentioned families just like ours, rushing to rise before the sun, cringing as we wake up sleeping toddlers and rushing to gather blankets for the Sunrise service. Perhaps our morning a bit easier on the small island though, we ride in a golf cart, half without shoes, one third in pajamas and none with brushed teeth. The beauty of the morning beckons me equally with the accepted casualness of a sunrise service at the nearby beach overlooking the great expanse of the Atlantic.
Six people made their way to the still cool sand and then struggled to choose one of the three blankets that had been gathered, an array of choices including Frozen, Kate Spade floral or Wolfpack. A period of silence for the hundred of so people gathered, the sun not yet up, me drinking coffee and our children fighting over powdered donuts. Surely Christ was smiling at our efforts though or was He frowning upon my bringing the snack bag? My most likely guarantee that two year old Amos would behave and perhaps be less disruptive, wishful thinking usually. Today though, he did well with only a few protests, gags on stale miniature white donuts, a handful of thrown sand, but all par for the course.
We sang as the sun rose and I smiled as Blair followed the hand motions of the contemporary minister. The music was not reflective of the peace I was longing to fill me but instead reminded me of the jolt and joy that should be filled with the rising of Christ, our celebration of a morning over two thousand years ago. Lovely and we sang. Friends arrived and shared their cotton candy, an acceptable Easter morning breakfast, a reminder of the baskets of goodies hidden at the house of my parents. Our NC neighbors joined us on our blankets and we felt a little piece of home and the fellowship we enjoyed there most Sundays, Blair cuddled in her favorite lap. I pondered the thousands of people watching the sun rise and the story of the resurrection, heard in a way that was novel, at least to me.
The humble voice explained that the stone was rolled out so we could get into see, not so HE could get out. He was gone. The empty grave clothes were not discarded in a messy pile, but neatly folded. A visual reminder from Him that He lives to have a relationship with us, longs for fellowship with His people, eternal beings too. We each have a beginning and end. The gravity of those words left my mind confused with too much significance and as always, seemed a personal reflection on my own small family. One in a sea of hundreds of millions and yet, worth more than gold to Him.
A jolt of reality as two year old Amos tooted and my daughter just as quickly pointed at her oldest brother, his face turning red with embarrassment and the peals of stifled laughter that followed. The minister's words came about the blood left behind and the piercing of hands and feet and all I could hear was the daughter of a friend, whispering incredulously, "They pierced his penis? That's so weird!". More giggles. And so reflective of life's lessons, sad, laughter, joy and hope all mixed up together, one leading to the other though the order altered. We made our way to the beach after the service to witness the ocean baptisms that had been planned. Again, I was struck with a deep sense of awe as I watched a family, both parents and their two children, standing closely, dripping and their heads down in prayer and then after, bright smiles and a group hug, the joy radiant on that Mama's damp face.
As with all mothers, my thinking was interrupted as Amos made his way to the ocean, still in feety pajamas and worse, dangerously close to picking up a brightly colored man-o-war. Thankful to have caught him and thankful to have been caught myself, joy there for the taking. The beauty of Easter.