Easter weekend. It was a whirlwind of charms and grievances. Full of fruitful, peaceful, quiet moments, then over-busy, stressful ones almost immediately following.
I was hoping to make the week leading to Easter more special, somehow. I wanted to make sure we got in our list of favorite Easter traditions and went to as many services as we could to focus in on Christ’s death and resurrection. Thursday, we hoped to go to a Maundy Thursday service, but our to-do list ran long–and for some reason or another we didn’t make it. Friday night, we got the time wrong for another service and missed it. So we shared a symbolic Good Friday dinner at home. But the kids wouldn’t eat much of it, and we couldn’t find the children’s Bible for our traditional retelling of the story. Saturday, we planted and worked outdoors, but frustrations mounted as the children wore out–and expressed their displeasure through spirited protesting.
It looks like we didn’t get to all that many of our traditions.
Sunday morning. I got up early for Easter preparations. We actually managed to get out the door and to church about 10 minutes early. (Amazing.) Our music leading wasn’t perfect, but it went well altogether.
But I was distracted. Normally, I’m pretty concerned with managing both singing and the children on Sunday mornings. But that day, I was thinking about how I was so relieved my parents were in church to help me with the kids while Tim was playing the organ.
My thoughts turned to questioning how I juggle all of these places and people and jobs in my life, and wondering how in the world I can keep the balls in the air when our third baby comes along. I wondered whether or not I’m doing a good job of mothering, and whether my children will end up in therapy one day because of me. (It’s possible, I suppose.)
I kept trying to bring my mind back to the service. I was trying to stir up some feeling that I felt like I was supposed to have. It’s Easter morning! Christ is risen–He is risen indeed! And I really do believe that, and I am so grateful, and it is the central tenant on which my faith is hung.
But I just don’t always think about it. (Please tell me I’m not the only one.) I’m not usually focusing on how the resurrection–and my faith in general–should affect my worries. My mind is weighed down, and I rarely think in terms of bringing my anxieties to the mercy seat.
Communion came. “Come, all has been prepared.” How restorative to come kneel as a church family, to feel your own weaknesses and need, and hold hands open to receive the bread and cup! Together, we eat and drink that which has been provided for us. Together, we confess our sins and our belief. And after doing so, we pray,
“Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us, who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thine everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and passion of thy dear Son. And we most humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer, Order for Holy Communion)
That Easter Sunday, it struck me. When I take communion, I am remembering Christ’s sacrifice for sin. I am remembering that He rose again and conquered sin and death. Christ marks me, a believer, as a member of His body (the church). He assures me of His favor–not because of anything I have done–but because of His blood covering my sin (“the merits of the most precious death and passion of thy dear son”). This is the part that should be impossible. This is the sacred- where the holy meets my little earthly life to bring me grace and forgiveness.
And then: “we beseech thee… to assist us with thy grace… to continue in fellowship… to do good works which thou has prepared… through Christ Jesus…” We plead in all our weakness that God would give us the strength to carry on. To continue on in belief, as members of Christ’s body. To carry on in doing good, even when it seems impossible. This is the mundane. The every day of living my faith.
And as I worried, and remembered all the downfalls leading up to that Easter Sunday, I wondered whether or not I could possibly succeed as a mother, or even manage to carry on with a half-decent sense of sanity.
And then it occurred to me that I really can’t do a good job of it all myself.
Christ’s death and resurrection, bringing me new life, is what meets me for my daily bread and wine. It’s what brings me the sustenance to get me through the dirty, hard, endless days of mothering my children, doing my work, living day in and day out.
I have to remind myself often that “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15), and that the High Priest lived a mundane life for many years before we know anything of His time of ministry from the Scriptures. Christ knows hard work and temptation and weariness–probably better than me. Those day in and day out years that Christ lived are just as much a part of His life, death, and resurrection story as the most fantastic miracles he performed.
I don’t always feel the sacred. But that doesn’t really matter. The commonplace is just as important. And so, as I struggle and worry and work at being a mother, I can remember that the resurrection–and my resulting place in Christ–has everything to do with my humdrum life.
I pray for faithfulness and strength to continue in my weariness. For trust to let go of my worries, rather than clutching them. And that I would live in the light of the resurrection.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
“Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come; knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for.” (Book of Common Prayer, Family Prayer)