As a pastor, you might expect me to say my earliest memory of Easter was time spent in church. Actually my earliest memory of Easter was of preparing for my very first egg hunt at our community park. I was so excited as I put on my running shoes and grabbed my basket, ready for adventure and chocolate! As soon as the horn blew we all made a mad dash to grab as many plastic and chocolate eggs as humanly possible.
I realized early on that my skills as an egg hunter left something to be desired. Finally I did get one egg and was thrilled with my accomplishment. As soon as I had grabbed that egg, a ton of older kids came running into the “little kids” section to commandeer our loot. As the dust cleared, I was left with one little crushed, chocolate egg which ironically at the time I thought was the greatest thing ever. Later I was disappointed as I saw the other kids with eggs overflowing their baskets. My parents encouraged me not to be too disheartened as it was my first hunt and this sort of thing didn’t happen all the time.
Two days later, on Easter Sunday after church, we gathered with my favorite Aunt Paula at her house. I was still reeling from my disappointment a bit. I miss the time long ago when such things were all I had to worry about!
When I came into my aunt’s home she hugged me and brought out of her room the biggest Easter basket I have ever seen. It had a bunny as big as I was and enough chocolate to feed the habit of any chocoholic. Years later after I lost my aunt, I can still think back on that day and the many other days she shared time and hugs with me.
On Easter and the weeks following, the Christian church celebrates the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death on the Cross. This in and of itself is a profound miracle.
Perhaps for me the greater miracle is not Jesus’ resurrection but the reason why, even in his greatest moments of agony, he held firm to the love he had for all of God’s children. The abundance of his love is what I believe led him, according to the Gospel of Luke, to say to the criminal next to him that he too would be with him in paradise in spite of all that he had done. He calmed his fears and assured him that all would be well.
On Easter I encourage you all to find a church nearby to gather with fellow brothers and sisters to remember who you are as a child of God and what that means on the other days of the year and your whole life long. Hopefully afterward you will have family and friends to gather with and celebrate that the life we have in Christ is rooted in the relationships we make with one another. What a gift it is in times of uncertainty and fear in so much of the world that even if life gives us one “crushed egg,” God is there to give us so much more!
Brian Foxworth has been pastor of Spirit of Joy Community Church for six years and also has been a hospice chaplain in the San Jacinto Valley for nearly 10 years. The church is located at 3126 W. Johnston Ave, Hemet.