High Five – He’s ALIVE!!
Easter Monday is traditionally the day I stock up on enough half-price Easter treats to aid in keeping my little ones convinced it’s still Easter for the next 50 days. Like Jesus appearing by surprise to his disciples in the weeks following his Resurrection, surprise Easter-egg hunts pop up often throughout our family’s celebration of the Easter season. During this year’s grocery run for bags of mini-eggs and pastel M&M’s I looked forward to seeing the anticipation in my children at the news that they could yet again begin the search for hidden rewards.
Each year I look forward to sharing chocolate with them, retelling the Easter story to one another following each hunt, concluding with the sugar-fueled proclamation, “high-five, He’s alive!” They erupt in giggles as their jubilant shouts carry them into belly-bumps and other displays of celebration best observed by those six and under. It’s a fun tradition, the children’s enthusiasm is sweeter than all the treats we could ever enjoy. But on its own, this tradition can produce a surface kind of feeling that’s completely hollow if we don’t follow up the borderline revelry with the question, “what does this mean for us?”
This Easter didn’t come with the usual surge of “feel good” feelings. On Easter Monday, as I waited in line outside the grocery store, social-distance style, I was aware of the battle inside my brain to convince myself it was really Easter. Eight days and far too many creme-eggs later, I remain mostly emotionally unconvinced of our current liturgical season. But the proclamation within our Paschal greeting remains true. “Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!”
Sometimes our emotions line up with the truth. Sometimes they don’t. There are moments where I feel caught in a perpetual Lent with no end in sight, feelings of despair threaten to set up camp and drag me into spiritual turmoil. In these moments there is a conscious and definitive choice to be made.
In Baptism, we are given the Theological Virtue of Hope. Hope points us towards our eternal home in heaven, trusting in God’s grace to lead us, encouraging and sustaining us through difficulty as we trust in his promise. We are partakers in Christ’s divine nature, conquering by his power all that seeks to separate us from his love.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy, He has given us new birth into living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:3
You’ve made it to the end of the article, now comes the fun part! Take a few minutes in prayer with the words from 1 Peter 1:3. Ask God to shine his light on these words then consider what these words mean to you.
Looking to get those spiritual muscles moving just a little bit more? Consider these questions:
What are the things (temptations, activities, conversations, etc.) that seek to separate you from God’s love? How does the awareness of God’s presence within you, and within the world shape your response to these things? How do you keep your eyes set on God’s eternal promise?
Journal your responses, leave a comment, or phone a friend and strike up a conversation about hope!
Karen Keays returned to the Church in early adulthood after more than a decade of wrestling with God. She is a stay-at-home mother of three.