He was a friendly, older guy and struck up a conversation while washing hands in the restroom of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. I didn’t really feel like chatting and thought maybe I could get out ahead of him but to no avail. As we stood there he looked at me and said “It’s a bit chilly out there..” and I agreed and commented on the weather. Then he began with what was probably a 3-4 minute talk about his recent weather experience. “Yeah, we was down toward Missouri and my wife’s sister was sick. It was kinda warm there but not here. We went down to see her sister, she’s very sick. We thought she was gonna die and we should hurry down there to see her before she goes. It was warm up until we got close here and it’s cool out there.” And we conversed for a few more minutes on that trip, his sister in law, and the weather.
He said “Yeah, that ol’ Boston they got over 100 inches of snow this winter.” “Yes, they did”, I say and he goes on to tell me about what it will be like when all that snow melts. There were a number of people moving around us at this point as we stand near the restrooms in the gift shop. I took a step toward the door and offered my standard “take care”. He then said “Ok, Buddy, talk to ya later. Happy Easter!” As I left the restaurant I was thinking “talk to me later”? I mean probably not. I didn’t find out where he lived but the chances of another connection….and remembering each other seemed kind of slim to me. I felt later like I cut him a little short and we could have talked more. And “Happy Easter?” Did he mean the Easter of jelly beans, eggs, and the Easter Bunny? Or did he mean Easter the gift of the resurrection of Jesus? I don’t know. As I watched him disappear into the restaurant itself I thought I didn’t even offer a return “Happy Easter”. He was just a nice guy looking for a “warm” connection on a “cool” day.
We all linger for relationships and connections in life. Studies I’ve heard of say we need that to sustain our lives. What about the spiritual connection? How is your spiritual life, by whatever that means to you? This is the week for dying to the old ways of being and believe in God’s new way through Jesus! We are in Holy Week now according to the church calendar and many church’s will offer services for Maundy Thursday (the night before the Lord’s death commemorating the Last Supper and foot washing). Maundy is Latin for “commandment” and Jesus urges us to love one another. Good Friday is probably anything but good to Christians, but it used to be called “God’s Friday”. The death of Jesus makes Good Friday solemn, quiet, and dark.
Then a little light peaks out on Easter Saturday evening as many offer an Easter Vigil service. And, of course, there’s Easter this Sunday! HAPPY EASTER!! I hate to pop any bubbles or spill any baskets but Easter is not about candy, gifts, bonnets or bunnies. Easter is a celebration of God’s defeat of death. Jesus was raised. We have proof in and out of the Bible. “He is Risen” we say and celebrate and sing about. Jesus defeats death and that is what I mean by making things new. It’s a new life for you and me! There is a relationship and a connection with God that can’t be missed! YOU ARE INCLUDED!
It’s a new beginning for you and me and all of us! Jesus gives the fresh start we all crave in the grace, love, and hope Jesus poured out in his death and resurrection. As we trot into this week, be still, reflect and think about what happened to Jesus. There are short readings in the Bible that can give you more perspective. There are services to attend. In fact, Easter may be the ultimate time to invite someone else to church and build a relationship. Look for those chance encounters where you can say to someone “Come with me” and visit my church this Easter. Come with me and worship our loving, caring, God! Come with me and attend a Via de Cristo weekend ! If you have already attended come with me to Illinois this July for our National gathering! Visit www.viadecristo.org!
And this week look for people you think could use the warm embrace of God where you can say “Happy Easter”!
God loves you and so do I,
NLS Spiritual Director
“Forgiveness is the only way to permanently change the world.” -Desmund Tutu