When my oldest son was about five,
I tried to read the crucifixion story to him
from his cartoon-illustrated Children’s Bible.
We made it part of the way through,
then he stopped me, saying,
“Mommy, I don’t think I’m old enough for this.”
I get it, completely.
I don’t think I’m old enough for this, either.
We encounter the story so often,
in church, in personal study, even in the movies,
that sometimes the mind starts to gloss over the deeper meaning.
Yes, yes, I’ve heard all this hundreds of times.
I know every detail of what happened.
No need to wake up that heartbreak again.
Let’s move on to the good part.
I want Easter.
I remember years
of skipping the Thursday and Friday services of Holy Week,
not making them a priority,
because, who wants to go there,
I know the story.
I don’t need to hear it again.
Give me Easter.
I didn’t want to walk through that pain.
I didn’t want to acknowledge having anything to do
with this terrible thing that happened.
I wasn’t there.
I didn’t do it.
This reliving of the past,
it’s not necessary.
It doesn’t help.
Bring on Easter.
But somewhere along the way,
and though I can’t say just when,
I became old enough.
Just barely old enough.
Just barely old enough to begin to grasp
what it all means.
What really happened.
What was really done for me,
way before I was even around.
God being born in human form
is amazing in and of itself.
We could stop right there and marvel at that for the rest of our lives.
As in, God.
Birthed over there in the Middle East by a young, devout, unmarried Jewish girl.
Living, growing up, feeling all of the wonder and tragedy of being human.
At just the right time, stepping fully into an era-defining ministry.
So much to teach them, they have so much to learn,
I have so little time. Those who have ears, listen!!
Teaching and touching, helping and healing,
modeling the way over and over –
Follow me! Follow me!
Then, time runs out.
Not the king they expected,
not the king they hoped for.
Stirring up the people,
causing trouble, breaking the law of Moses,
eating with the sinners,
the losers, the outcasts.
Redeemed sinners, they can throw a mighty good party.
He shares a table with them!
He likes them!
The powers that be are not amused.
The beginning of the end.
Fervent prayers in the dark,
every fiber of his being wanting to run,
yet every cry from the depth of his soul ending with,
Your will, not mine; your will be done.
Torchlight, a kiss;
In the courtyard, looking out at Peter.
Watching his face.
Knowing what he is about to say,
but oh, the heartbreak of hearing it.
Locking eyes for a moment,
watching the guilt and horror sweep over Peter’s face
even as he turns away.
He is not old enough.
Through the night,
through all the familiar details,
the accustomed travesties,
the story progresses . . .
and here we are again,
on the painful road of Holy Week.
we don’t skip the hard part.
We don’t look away,
we don’t hide our faces.
We watch, we stay, we pray,
old enough to know,
this is the only way