Our children had a pretty fantastic Easter. Their Easter was primarily spectacular due to the FOUR Easter egg hunts they enjoyed. With the blessing of seeing two aunties and a family friend, our son and daughter made out like Easter bunny bandits—chocolate chicks, jelly beans, bubbles, and various assorted treasures…at least if you’re between 3 and 5 ½.
And yet, all of these delightful goodies were contained in eye-popping plastic eggs. These weren’t real Easter eggs. We had decorated eggs, and the children wanted to know when we would hide those eggs. The real ones.
I, who had never hidden a real Easter egg in my life (because I intend to eat them) tried to shift the children’s attention elsewhere—but this would not do. After what turned into tears of pleading, I finally agreed to let them hide our painted eggs (Dad was away, mind you).
The children hid eleven eggs.
We found ten.
Here we are now, in the midst of our Easter season. By Easter IV, our initial Easter exuberance may have begun to wane. People seem increasingly nonplussed when you say “Happy Easter.” We start to spot more dead lilies. (Or maybe your parishioners scuttle off with the dying plants before the arts and environment committee tosses them in the dumpster.) With hope, if you also dyed Easter eggs, you have long since eaten them. We ate ours. Well, ten of them.
And yet, we still have a long way to go in the Easter season. How can we sustain that Easter joy in the midst of what seems to be a rapidly normalizing life of struggle, work, and hope sometimes dashed?
It has occurred to me recently that there’s perhaps a reason why walking through the raucous wonder of the Paschal Triduum into the Easter Season sometimes feels like entering a quietly deadening desert—a strangely quiet setting, given the joy the liturgical texts suggest we should be experiencing. When our ancestors in faith walked through their own Passover night into the life of Exodus…they were not walking into unrelenting joy. They walked into a desert.
Granted, the People of Israel had just witnessed untold miracles of God, were benefitting from the leadership of Moses, and had a literal pillar of fire to guide them. Perhaps the exuberance they first felt when crossing the Red Sea should have sustained them. Yet, it did not. They also felt nonplussed by rejoicing, and wondered with increasing grumbling about the labor of freedom that lay before them.
Yet, the Easter season unrelentingly invites us to remember the joy of the Gospel—the joy that Christ alone brings. The joy that can only come when you find that treasure in the field, that lost coin, that lost sheep…or that lost Easter egg….
That joy and relief at discovering what we thought had been lost—invites us to hold on to it. And, unlike our Easter egg (which I would NOT recommend eating), we are invited, again and again, to dine at the Supper of the Lamb.