My first text message on Easter Sunday was from my beloved wife. "He is risen!" I read. Then I replied "He is risen indeed!" Next I sent "He is risen!" text messages to my children and they both replied just as I had done earlier.
I wondered how many times that occurred that morning and then how many times that same greeting or something similar had been repeated for the last 2000 years.
It was not always something I believed and for much of life I would not have said either phrase. I wouldn't say it even to just make someone else happy. After all I was a man of integrity or so I wanted to believe about myself.
As a child I never really understood Easter. Rabbits do not lay eggs period and certainly not chocalate, candy ones. Neither do little yellow chicks.
I do not remember "peeps" either. I heard someone the other day on TV say that they had never heard of "peeps" and I figured that person and I must be in same age range.
And then there was the issue of painted, boiled eggs along with all the other candy stuff having something to do with religion and the resurrection of Jesus. It made no sense to me.
I do remember hunting Easter eggs though. I recall my mother hiding them in our tiny house and then my brother and I racing to locate them. Later I remember doing the very same thing for my children and watching with glee as they attempted to put them in their own baskets. I remember dressing up in my best finery -- often new -- for church and then gathering with other family for a meal and all to brief visit and play with cousines and aunts and uncles. The finery usually didn't fare so well from the playing.
I was 33 the year that the resurrection of Jesus finally became real to me.
When finally I understood what happened and what it meant I remember sitting in a chair in the patio room of my home and weeping uncontrollably. It was the astonishing beauty of the manifest love of God that made me weep. It was not the suffering beforehand although I finally understood a litte of that. Neither was it the joy of the resurrection itself although I did glimpse that faintly then.
It was the love of God that became real to me that day.
He is risen indeed!