This morning she was flipping through her art book, and she paused at a brilliant page. She thoughtfully examined her creation.
Her art captivates me. It’s always so vibrant and free. Arms are outstretched. Carefree stick figures usually wearing long dresses for dancing, feet clad in clompy high heels and ears dangling with dramatic earrings. The colors, the movement, the air that swirls around her happy people- it tells the story of who we are created to be.
“You know what this is?” she asked.
“No, tell me,” I said.
“It’s the cross. With a crown on the top for Jesus… they killed Him ‘cause they thought He did something bad. But He didn’t!”
It’s all around us. The story of creation, the fall of man, the devastating consequences of sin and separation from our Maker. And then right across the page, the Light shines into darkness and brings hope, life and joy. Color splashes across the darkness, feet are released from chains and now swirl in intoxicating joy.
We didn’t get a family Easter photo. We didn’t even serve up a special meal around the dining table. In fact, I showed up to church a few minutes late, feeling rushed and rumpled and exhausted after a morning that involved milking out an infected quarter on the cow, coaching a child through cleaning up shards of glass all over the kitchen counter. I fried six pounds of sausage for our church fellowship meal while I directed five little people to get dressed, hair done and all necessary belongings to the car. I glanced at day old coffee in the Chemex and decided I didn’t have time to microwave a mug. My perfume was lost under the smell of sausage.
And as we pulled into the church parking lot I glanced in my review mirror, I noticed my littlest girlie’s hair still wild and undone. The rest dashed inside while I stood there and quickly twisted her hair back, and then joined my brood next to their daddy on the pew who was there early for worship. Life is just messy sometimes.
I glanced at the beautiful people sitting all around me, all put together and peaceful. I gulped against the chaos of my morning. Worship swirled and lulled me and I struggled to disconnect from the glass shards and sausage grease and straining fresh milk.
Life is so messy, and somehow coming into the presence of the Lord isn’t in denial of that. He is not fazed by our dirty fingernails, or our fly away hair.
Jesus burst from his grave, bringing hope to the messiest of us. The first one He met was Mary, whose story swept the gutters of filth and hopelessness. He chose to meet her first, to meet her in her tear smeared devastation. And when she couldn’t get through her grief, He called her name.
“Mary.” And then her blurred world focused.
“My Lord!” she whispered.
Maybe your Easter was picture perfect and everything you hoped it would be. Or maybe you found yourself too far away to see or hear anything clearly. Maybe you felt like short little Zacheous who couldn’t see above the crowd and needed to climb a scrubby tree to even get a glimpse of the Savior. Sometimes, even on the most monumental days, you find yourself lost on the back side of a crowd.
Jesus’ resurrection power came to all of us. He is there as your toddler falls apart. He is there and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and freeze. He is there.
Jesus didn’t come to add perfection to an already put together life. He came to meet our desperate need. He came to be the physician for our incurable sickness.
The dark lines in the drawing point our eyes to the light. The very hopelessness of our lives before redemption makes the dance floor that much more stunning.
Listen. The risen Lord is calling your name.
Let your eyes focus. Let the music pull you in, the melody drawing you into the intoxicating dance of freedom.
He is risen, even for the messiest of us.