By Libbo Crosswhite
Peace By Peace
Something about this year’s Easter is already different. I am not sure if it’s because there is no doubt in my mind the tear-filled struggle that will occur the morning of Easter when I have to convince my 3-year-old daughter, Mary Thomas, that she cannot and will not wear her pink Dallas Cowboys jersey and yellow tutu to God’s house even when she knows that Jesus loves the Cowboys (real life conversation that we had two weeks ago).
Or maybe it’s the image I have in my head of my sweet Russell man in his adorable suspenders and plaid button up head-butting every person his height in our congregation, because that’s how we say hello lately.
Jesus, be near; the resurrection is surely needed in my home.
Whatever it is, this Easter seems closer and more real than any in my recent memory. But shouldn’t they all be? The story of Easter has been on my heart since Christmas. Because don’t get me wrong, Christmas is great, but Christmas is the celebration of Jesus doing what every other human being on earth has done before and after him. Being born was gracious of him, but not anything that any of us haven’t been able to do as well. The power of Christianity lies in what Jesus did on the cross—what no human has ever been or will ever be powerful enough to accomplish and what all of human history desperately needed for salvation and a relationship with our Creator.
Back in the day—the phrase that moms use when speaking of times before they had children strapped to them at all times, a euphoric memory of time that was actually owned by us—I worked at J. Crew during my college breaks and my first few years teaching to help support my shopping addiction habit. I absolutely loved every minute of it.
I developed a love for all things gingham and tailored and still find myself wandering in there every once in awhile. One particular afternoon, I was feeling extra brave and had both kids with me in the store. We had almost survived the entire trip with no tears or major scenes when I turned for literally two seconds to scan the impressive sale rack only to hear a giant crash that sent shock waves through the entire store. I could feel all eyes on me and then down on the floor where a beautiful, heavy, glass vase full of headbands and dainty things had shattered into a million pieces. Broken. Everywhere.
When I turned to my two criminals, Mary was silent and pointing at Russell and Russell knew enough to utter one word that might help his case. “No,” he said as part declarative part interrogative as if he was trying to remind me this was a teachable moment. The staff was gracious and helpful, but I was horrified. Needless to say, I walked out of the store with two pairs of pants as an, “I’m sorry I ruined your beautiful things, here’s my money” peace offering. Glass was everywhere and it wasn’t going to be easy to clean up the mess we had just made. My brokenness was literally there for everyone to see. The image of that broken vase is exactly why I am so reliant, grateful and in total awe of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Easter is the foundation of our refuge from the world’s brokenness and our very own brokenness. Easter Sunday is my motherhood. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, I know that I don’t have to rest on my own ability or goodness. (Can I get a GIANT HALLELUJAH!). My guilt, inequities, doubts, and sins all died on the cross with Jesus.
We hear all the time that Jesus died for “us”—a slightly impersonal, general pronoun. But Jesus’ death was so much more. He died for our sin and shame. He died for our shattered glass vases and the things that we carry with us inside and hope no one ever sees. And the best news? He resurrected to defeat the very same sin and shame that can sometimes try to make a comfy little home in our hearts if we aren’t careful. What I have to remind myself is that not only am I saved, but I am VICTORIOUS because of what Jesus did for me.
Whew, tears fill my eyes as I write this. I am forgiven and enough because Jesus was, is, and will always be enough. My Jesus has already won my motherhood. I am off the hook, no longer only relying on my own strength.
I love Jesus’ first words to his disciples after he had resurrected. John 20:19 begins to paint the picture of the moment Jesus reveals that he has, in fact, defeated death. When it was just Jesus and his disciples, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” and then proceeds to show his disciples his nail-torn hands and side—the scars that served as a reminder of what Jesus had been through just days before on their behalf. On our behalf. And what do the disciples do? They rejoiced. Oh, did they rejoice.
So won’t you rejoice with me this Easter Sunday? Jesus is alive. Our debt has been paid, our battle has been won, our vase has been put back together piece by piece, for we have been made whole in the name, the nail-torn hands, the blood, and the resurrection of Jesus.