The Resurrection: Letting Go of Expectations
It seems like the main lesson I learned through this Lenten season was that things are not always going to happen the way I expect. Our Lenten Tree limped to life in spurts. Because it wasn’t connected to either our evening family Bible Time devotions nor our morning Bible reading with school, we just didn’t add to it as regularly as I hoped. Instead we kept adding leaves in clusters.
There were two ways we brought our tree to “life.” The leaves were made using the printable “ornaments” from Gina at Seamless Days. She has drawn up simple pictures to represent the stories mentioned in No Ordinary Home: The Uncommon Art of Christ-Centered Homemaking by Carol Brazo. They tell the story of God’s redemption from Creation to the Resurrection. We also added flowers to represent some of the ideas I got from Bring Lent to Life: Activities & Reflections For Your Family by Kathleen M. Basi (e.g. people we’re praying for, things we’re thankful for). I still like the idea of the tree, but the next time we try it I think we’ll make sure to connect it with the devotions during our family Bible Time.
Even though we didn’t add to the tree daily or as often as I would have liked, at least it did happen (sort of) and provided the visual lesson I intended. I had other plans for Lent that never happened at all, so I went to church this morning with anticipation in my heart, hoping for a great glorious celebration tapping into two thousand years of tradition of celebrating the miraculous morning of the Resurrection, something that would wipe away the dissatisfaction of my frustration expectations.
Then my children had one of the most difficult times in church I can remember since we started keeping them in the main service with us a few years ago. (Actually, it was probably just one child in particular having trouble, but multiple issues on that front made me hyper-sensitive and then every little thing out of the others seemed a lot worse than it was.) I ended the service in tears. The morning had not been the glorious experience of my dreams.
I imagine the disciples felt the same way at the beginning of that Sunday morning so long ago. Here they were, at the culmination of three years of ministry following Jesus, expecting him to triumph over their oppressors and establish his kingdom, only to find themselves left with a body in a tomb. They adjusted to his death and tried to figure out where to go from there. Then the women came back from the tomb proclaiming Christ’s resurrection. In spite of the fact that Jesus had told them he would be raised on the third day, they still had a hard time believing it until they saw him for themselves. It wasn’t until they let go of their expectations that they were able to fully experience the awesome power of Christ’s victory over death. What started as a gloomy morning turned into a joyous celebration.
My own morning did get better. Our merciful God brought several good friends around me who offered comfort and encouragement, and by the time we left the church building my spirit was renewed and refreshed. Even though the rest of our day has just been an ordinary Sunday at home, there is something different inside me. I have spent the day reading through the story of Easter morning in all four gospels and reflecting on the beauty of the Resurrection. While my day wasn’t quite so dramatic as that first Resurrection Sunday, it still ended up being a time of joy and marveling at the glory of God. As I let go of my expectations I was able to embrace His mercy, His grace, and His infinite love. And that is a wonderful way to celebrate the day God triumphed over death and gave us the incredible gift of new Life.