Everything Matters: Easter as a Cultural Act

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Everything Matters: Easter as a Cultural Act

My foster son is sitting at the white table, the little one I bought at Superstore. He’s coloring.

“When I’m old, Jesus is going to make me a Fisher of Man,” says Joey. I listen from my laptop. “Like Opa, or Uncle Phil. Uncle Phil likes fishing.”

Joey is new to church and Jesus has become one of his favorite superheroes; and when he wears his Spiderman pull-ups at bedtime, he asks Jesus to take care of his mommy.

We’re quiet for a while. Then he asks, “Did Jesus have brown skin like me?”

“Oh, yes, he definitely did,” I say.

Joey smiles. “I love Jesus,” he says. “I am going to go to heaven and die and be with him.”

I don’t know if I’ve ever truly loved Jesus, but I know I want to, and I feel like I love God most when I’m painting or writing. But apparently loving means dying; means carrying a cross and mourning and being crushed but not abandoned. So I think what I’m feeling when I write or when I paint is peace, not love.

When I’m wiping one of my boys’ bums or singing them to sleep for the third time that night or bending low to hug them after they’ve tried to hit me, then maybe I’m loving Jesus.

It feels a lot like work. Because love is doing what you need to do, even when you don’t want to. It’s becoming bigger than you ever thought you could be, by becoming nothing at all. It’s trusting God to give you time to paint, and to write, when you take in two foster boys ages four and 19 months and you already have a seven-month-old and a two-year-old at home.

Love is family. And it is everywhere, and God is love.

“Jesus lives in my heart, not my tummy, right?” Joey says.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“We don’t eat him, right?”

“Correct.”

But, we do, in communion, he is bread, and we drink him—he is wine.

And Jesus is the kiss I give my husband after he’s hurt my feelings, and Jesus is the way I speak to myself in the mirror, like an old friend, like Anne Lamott taught me to do. He’s the soup I pull from my freezer to give to a sick friend, and he’s the song my sister and I sing.

He doesn’t always smell pretty. He doesn’t look a certain way, except maybe like the snot-covered hug of a two-year-old or the wildflower picked for me by my father-in-law. He sometimes feels like the clothes delivered by a neighbor who lives in a trailer down the road, or like the breeze blowing spring, and I’m pretty sure he tastes like the popcorn my husband makes for me after the kids go to bed.

When God said, “It is good,” in Genesis, he meant the earth—with all of its creation, with all of its family, with all of its culture. So culture becomes for us something that is achingly tangible; something that hints at heaven; something that is desperately ordinary. And culture is homemaking, is car-pooling, is friendship, is church, is family, is child. It is the simple act of caring on someone other than yourself.

“I’m going outside to feed my chickens,” says Joey, pulling on his boots.

We don’t have chickens. But he believes we do, and they live in our sandbox. And when Auntie Karen asks if she can buy eggs from Joey one day, he looks at her with incredulity, because this adult believes in them too.

I want to believe in God like Joey believes in his chickens. To resurrect him in places he once was dead.

So I pull on my boots and play in the sandbox knowing this, too, is worship.

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