On Easter Sunday, between early morning egg hunting and setting up for a church brunch and the start of the morning service, I walked into the quiet sanctuary, stared up at the green projector image proclaiming in simple and neat font: He is risen!
And I sat.
I just sat, for what felt like the first time in weeks. No child on my lap. No sink full of dishes. No editing queue in sight. Just me, a few quiet conversations happening in the back of the room and the gospel truth, as plain as it can be made: He is risen!
I opened my Youversion app, which was bookmarked in Hebrews, and I read 10:26: “…if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.”
That was a resurrection Sunday, we’re redeemed, He is risen indeed, buzz kill.
I examined my heart, as people milled about in the lobby, eating deviled eggs and rolls of ham, breaking muffins and bagels together. I sat and stared at the pits of my heart, the dark corners. And I wondered, truly, how much of the darkness is deliberate? How much is being human?
How much is too much?
How much can this great grace hold?
Is there an edge, a cliff, a single misstep that will be the one that’s just too far?
Tonight, I cleaned macaroni and cheese and green beans from between the dulled blades of child scissors.
Tonight, I swept the remnants of Easter morning from kitchen floor, while my children played in their bedroom, not helping clean.
It’s ten minutes until I’m supposed to be walking out the door with my children to take them to their highly anticipated, monthly youth activity at the church. But, I am feeling like my heart has been trampled by the feet of four children all day long and my nerves can’t handle one. more. battle.
I’ve told them, we won’t go. I’ve said it, probably twenty times today. I said it when there was backtalk this morning. I said it when there were fights. I used it as a reminder as I attempted to get them back to focus on their school work. I barked it while making dinner and begging for them to clean the Easter basket grass from beneath the kitchen table.
This wasn’t just being human, or just being a kid. This was deliberate, attitude. A conscious choice to not do what I was asking – over, and over, and over again.
I can barely make out their voices over the yelling and singing of the other children. One way, Jesus, you’re the only one I would live for!
Twenty minutes ago, driving on our way here. I turned down the music and cleared my throat, exhausted, but wanting to be clear that this wasn’t me breaking beneath the weight of their disobedience. This was not them trampling me into submission. This was something altogether different.
It was grace.
You know, this isn’t because you deserve to go, I told them. You did everything you could NOT to go, today.
I glanced at their puppy dog eyed faces in the rear view mirror, they were listening. You did not earn this. I cleaned your mess, but you are still being given the reward. This is an act of grace, do you understand that?
I’m in the same sanctuary. It’s dim now, the projectors are all off, the band isn’t about to take the stage. All signs of Easter morning have been taken down. Hebrews still on my heart, and I am quiet for a minute.
The dark pits and corners of my heart, burn. I know the weight of my own disobedience, I know clearly, the moments I’ve slipped up, fallen down, made a mess.
But here, rising up from the ashes of it all, from the messiest mess, I hear:
You did everything you could, not to earn this, you know that, right?
But, it’s not only burden and conviction. It’s forgiveness.
And I remember, again, how like a child I am.
And I remember, again, how amazing grace is.
He is risen.
He is risen, indeed.