Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, April 17, Morning – Easter Sunday
By Katie (& Evie) Strangis
Mouths of Babes
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26
“…then he diiiieeed, and he was kiiillllled, and now Jesus lives in my heeeeaaarrrrttt.” That is the song my 3-year-old has made up and started to sing (and dance!) to recently, with an unremarkable tune but some very powerful words.
When she started singing it, I had some questions and, frankly, really worried about what was going through her head about this story of murder and death and spirits – Where did you learn that?! Who is singing about death and murder with you?! How can you possibly understand this at age 3?! Help ME understand it at age 38! She sounded so innocent, yet confident, when she sang the song. She was not fearful at all – just matter-of-factly telling the story of Christ’s death and resurrection as she prepared some pretend cookies for us in her play kitchen.
It caught me off guard – not the words, necessarily, but her nonchalance and acceptance. Some of my own earliest memories involve my anxiety and obsession over a body’s physical death, my fear of dying and my family dying, not to mention grappling with how cruelly Jesus was treated before and during his crucifixion and the idea of eternal life. I’ve felt the shame and betrayal in how humans treated one of their own so horrifically and the guilt that I can never do enough to make up for Jesus dying for me. It feels unjust that we receive so much because he sacrificed everything. I feel guilty that I couldn’t be there to stop that inhumanity from happening, even if it was meant to be that way in order for us to have eternal life.
Those were some serious thoughts for a young child to ponder in the mid-80s. But there’s a lot of serious stuff happening in the world today: a pandemic, political division and violence, climate crises, hostage situations, school shootings, drug addiction and overdoses, war, police brutality, domestic abuse, illness, an increasing suicide rate … to name a few. Some days I can’t fathom finding Jesus’ loving, forgiving, and eternal spirit in those circumstances. And yet, I know it’s always there because of what happened that Easter day.
What struck me most about my daughter’s resurrection song is what I too often forget: Death is not the end. We don’t have to be afraid. We are forgiven. Jesus lives on eternally … in my heeeaaarrrttt.
Compassionate God, your love finds full expression in the gift of Jesus Christ your Son, who willingly met betrayal and death to set us free from sin. Thank you for the gift of your son. Amen.