A Seasoned Observation
BY BARBARA HARVILLE
We use seasons as a metaphor for our lives because they elegantly illustrate the transitions we go through and how those transitions affect both our mindset and our faith. My philosophy of Easter has changed since I came to know the Lord sixty-seven years ago in the spring season of my life. As a child Easter meant baskets, colored eggs, jelly beans, Peeps, and biting the ears off chocolate bunnies. In my teens Easter meant it was time for a new dress, new shoes, and, my favorite, a new handbag. Spirituality didn’t seem to make the priority list during that summer season of my life. Yes, I went to church on Easter Sunday and sang “He Arose,” “It Is Well with My Soul,” “Because He Lives,” “In the Garden,” and the rest of the standards. I certainly knew that Christ died for me, He was buried, and He rose again. But, though I believed this with all of my heart, I did not spend time meditating on the full scope of these truths and how they impacted my relationship with Jesus.
It wasn’t until the autumn season of my life as a believer that I examined the culture of Jesus’ day, including Roman methods of torture and death. I was employed in the medical field so I understood the results of blunt force trauma on a human body. I knew the consequences of excessive blood loss caused by flogging. I comprehended that hanging on a cross pinned by nails in one’s hands and feet made every breath an excruciatingly painful struggle. In my head, I perceived the humiliation and sorrow of being mocked, scorned, accused, betrayed, and punished even though He was innocent. I acknowledged the facts of Christ’s death. I appreciated that He suffered all these persecutions willingly for me. And yet, my heart and mind did not mourn as I celebrated Easter. I did not grieve the loss of a dear friend and family member. My heart was not broken, just moved.
Now in my full adulthood, both chronologically and as a believer, contemplating Easter has become personal. I am intensely aware of my sinful nature and my inability to please God in my own power. I hunger to deeply know the One who is everything that I am not. I thirst to commune with the Savior who loves me and desires a personal relationship in spite of my sin.
You see, with God, it is personal. What was the reaction, at this historical event we call Easter, of those who knew our Lord best? I wonder:
What anguish did the women who cared for and prepared the body of their friend, teacher, and master suffer? Scripture states that His body was so disfigured, it was beyond human likeness. Were the women angry, vengeful, horrified at man’s inhumanity to man, saddened by the loss, or anxiously awaiting the promised resurrection?
When the angel rolled away the stone, did the earth cease to groan, if only for a moment? Did the flowers, trees, and vegetation take on a new glow?
Did Satan realize his defeat and Christ’s victory?
Would my reaction be one of joy or skepticism?
Would my heart be broken because Jesus had to suffer and die, that I may live?
Would these facts change my view of Easter from a mere holiday to a time of true repentance and rejoicing?
In the winter season of my life, my answers to these questions are very different from when I was a child. Heaven is both more absolute and not that far in the future. The horrors of Christ’s crucifixion are less vivid and overshadowed by His resurrection. The assurance of spending eternity in His presence is guaranteed and I joyfully await His call to come home. Today, Easter is a season of rejoicing in the “now, but not yet.”
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