Sometimes, we miss opportunities. Sometimes that's OK. Maybe we are too tired to pay attention. Maybe we think we will have another chance, and often we will. Maybe we recognize the crucial minute when we are granted the opportunity to teach, but we let the moment pass without speaking. Sometimes we need that grace.
But Easter is no time to keep silent. Easter week matters. A lot. Easter is a time to seize every teaching opportunity. Make a point to share the truth about God's love, depth of compassion, and response to our suffering in Christ during the events of Easter week. Let’s teach our children well.
All of Lent and especially the week that begins with Palm Sunday are great times to tell the Bible stories of Jesus life, death and resurrection. And the stories of Jesus start with the Old Testament, so we can also draw out stories from the whole Bible. The scriptures are the story of how God rescues his people, again and again and finally once and for all in Jesus. As we walk through another spring season, we can use the opportunity to retell the story of God and his people. Don't let Easter just roll up as just another Sunday; take these weeks to explore and prepare.
And as we find ourselves walking through the meal of Thursday, the horror of Good Friday, the stillness of Saturday, the wonder of Easter morning, let’s tell our children the truth. We are like the crowds that yelled, “Hosanna!” We are like the disciples who didn't want their feet washed. We are like the crowds that called out, “Crucify Him!” We are just like them and for that reason, we need Jesus’ saving grace. As Romans 3:23 tells us, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." And as he rode that donkey into Jerusalem, knowing full well what was to come, he knew us and continued his journey because of our need.
Romans 5:8 reminds us, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." This is the core of the gospel. Let’s be sure to explain how loved our children are. We do not need to feel like God is seeking to catch us doing what we should not. Yes, he is watching them. And me. And you. But if we could see his gaze of compassion, the love in his holy eyes, we would find that God's watching is not about the catching, but about drawing near. This week, let’s be sure that our children know that it was love that kept Jesus moving through this terribly difficult time. It was compassion that caused Him to remain on that cross. And it was God’s deep desire to draw near to us as his people that made all of this possible at all.
Easter week cleared the path for us to draw near to God. Jesus died to save us. He took our suffering so that we could have fellowship with God. And knowing that we would doubt or forget or seek proof, He did what none of us could do ourselves. He rose again from the dead, fulfilled His own prophecy, and showed us that there is nothing He will not do to save us from our sins. This is not just a story about long ago, but about our God dwelling in us today and transforming us for work in his kingdom!
God did this amazing work to restore us to him. It is a tremendous gift wrapped in unfailing love just for us. Don't take this precious gift for granted, but choose to respond in gratitude. 2 Corinthians 9:15 expresses it well, "Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" Let your life be a living sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.
This Easter, don’t miss the opportunity to teach these eternal and most important truths to your children: we are deeply loved and God’s saving grace has made us new.
Today. Tomorrow. Forever.
Rev. Deb Koster
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra