I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Easter more than baskets, bunnies and eggs

When my dad pastored a church in eastern Wyoming during my elementary years, we had traditions for celebrating Easter. We had new Easter outfits. (We probably needed them since we grew all the time out of our clothes and shoes.) Before the big day Karin, Paul, and I colored eggs with Mom. (I’m sure she had to scrub down the kitchen when we were finished.) We knew that later, after dinner Dad had a hunt planned. No, not for eggs.

Our parents bought each of us a large chocolate something, a cross, bunny, egg, etc. He’d hide them in the living room, and we had to find and claim one for ourselves. Since dad was into health, we were allowed to enjoy some of the chocolate, but only in moderation so the chocolate lasted for several days. It tasted all the better for eating it slowly.

Before sunrise Easter morning, we, followed by others from the congregation, drove up the hill to the former church location where the large cross still overlooked the small oil town of Lance Creek. When the sun rose, we had a beautiful view as we listened to dad share about that glorious first Easter morning.

From the sunrise service, we drove west to the Covenant church where the ladies had prepared a breakfast guaranteed to fill up even the hungriest person. The church service was one of rejoicing with songs such as, “Up from the Grave He Arose.” Dad’s sermon brought us from the commercial aspects already creeping into Easter celebrations to the true meaning of the day.

The baby born in the manger didn’t come simply to give us a joyful Christmas holiday, He came for a much more serious reason. Jesus, the Creator God, came to bring hope to a people living in darkness. He came to bring light. As an adult, he healed, raised the dead, and set individuals free as He shared His love and compassion with His creation.

He wasn’t afraid to confront the religious leaders who made all sorts of regulations, but used them not to help, but to separate their people from their finances and their God. Most of them hated Him for uncovering their actions. Others hated Him for calling out their greed, pride, selfishness, and other sins. They hated Him enough to conspire to torture and murder Him with the extreme cruelty of a crucification.

He was a man. He was God, but He willingly sacrificed His life. Why? Because there are always consequences for wrong choices and actions. He died to take the consequences we deserved. He died to offer a better tomorrow. He did more, He rose again, conquering death itself. He rose to offer forgiveness instead of guilt and a personal relationship with the Creator. To those who accepted and followed, He offered light in the darkness, life for death, and the assurance that we are never alone.

Beyond the new clothes, baskets, candy, and more, all of which are quickly discarded, Easter is about Jesus who loves you and me so much, He gave up everything to offer the one thing we need more than about anything else, especially in today’s world, –hope.

Happy Easter!

(c) 2022 Carolyn R Scheidies
Column published in Kearney Hub 2022 April 4
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