Adventures in Homeschooling in Southern Indiana

Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebrating the Empty Tomb?

Christ executes a flawless DFA move on the unsuspecting Marys, taking first-place in the Battletech LARP Tournament.

Since I’m a pathetically stereotypical Catholic homeschooler (Except for the jumpers, but only because my husband refuses to buy me one), I’ve read quite a few suggestions about how to teach your kids the ‘real meaning’ of Easter. The more memorable ones included exploding marshmallow rolls and miniature tombs. I realized that I’ve been doing Easter wrong. Once we get home from the vigil, it’s all chocolate, eggs, bunnies and hams.  But Easter lasts for 50 days, and I should probably help my kids really live the Gospel experience. 

Right now, the message they’re getting is, “Catholics like to party. Especially if chocolate is involved.”  This is not going to win them any ‘apologist of the year’ awards. I really have to step up my game if my kids are going to win gold medals in the Catholic Homeschool Olympics.  So, I’ve decided to really use the next few weeks to hammer home the message of the empty tomb.

From now until Pentecost, when a child says, “My sock and underwear drawer is empty and I can’t get dressed,” I will reply with, “It symbolizes the empty tomb! Hallelujah! Rejoice and be glad!”  When the six year old puts the empty milk jug back in the fridge, irritating the next child to grab it, I’ll remind them that they should try to feel like the Marys and the Apostles felt when they saw the empty tomb. 

We’ll culminate in a giant Easter Egg hunt. As the kids open their eggs, they’ll see that there’s nothing inside! Empty eggs to symbolize empty tombs.  Then, just as they’re about to cry, we’ll show them chocolate bunnies! But they can only look! No touching until the chocolate has ‘ascended to the father’. (Nomnomnom)

My friends tell me that this is an AWFUL way to celebrate Easter. That Easter is about joy, and new life, and victory!  But, if you read the Gospels, that’s not how the apostles experienced the first Easter season. For them, Easter was actually about fear and confusion.

What do they do when they find the empty tomb? In some of the Gospels, they flee! They’re frightened. Mary Magdalene collapses weeping, afraid they’ve stolen the body. Jesus appears twice in the upper room, and both times everyone’s afraid. Heck, only Thomas is brave enough to touch him. Then, after they already KNOW Jesus is risen, they still mistake him for a ghost!  The 40 days culminate with Jesus ascending to the Father, and the disciples huddled in the upper room, too scared to go out into the streets of Jerusalem….

Pentecost changed all that. With the Holy Spirit, the disciples get the gifts they need to rejoice in the resurrection and to share that joy with others. At Pentecost, the Church is born. 

We live in a post-Pentecost world. We have the paraclete AND the Lord in the Eucharist. We can rejoice in Easter, because we have the luxury of knowing what actually happened.  But that first Easter? It was less like a gooey marshmallow roll, and more like an empty underwear drawer – a feeling of uncertainty, with a small bit of hope that maybe there was something out of sight, in the dryer.

We can rejoice, because we know that God not only washed the socks and underwear, but also bought more milk. Oh, and he filled the house with Chocolate, too, because he wanted us to have abundant life.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

Love it! This should be titled "Teaching Children the Meaning of Easter, Lazy Mom Edition." I could actually do these things! Especially the Easter egg hunt. There are so many around my house from the kids playing with them that I won't even have to hide them!

Thanks for giving me a laugh!