Our son was at the age where he was losing the last of his baby teeth. He was also at the age of uncertainty of a tooth fairy. He was leaning toward believing this was another fable parents told their kids much like the more famous one about, well, you know…..the fat guy in a red suit.
Jonathan called out to his dad one morning. The tooth still under his pillow, finally, he knew the truth. With his father standing next to him as he lay on the upper bunk, our son was explaining that, in fact, no tooth fairy had come. During his tale, his dad managed to slip money under his pillow without him knowing. When urged to look again, he found the money. Since his dad was standing there the whole time, there could only be one answer: there WAS a tooth fairy.
Some years ago I was attending a youth conference and one of the sessions was about truth. More specifically, it was about how the younger generation was deciding truth for themselves. So many not having grown up in the church, they couldn’t just accept the words we believed written by divine inspiration as truth. Truth became a personal possession. A choice. You could have your truth and I’d have mine.
We enjoy carrying on these traditions for our children. We like the age old fables of fairies and elves and Easter bunnies. Some might consider them alternative facts. That’s the new term, isn’t it? And it seems more and more are choosing these alternative stories as their truth.
At Christmas, we’ve seen the celebration of Santa become the main event. Who wouldn’t choose a story that has turned into “gimme, gimme, me, me, gimme, gimme, mine”? It’s a much grander story than that of a baby born to, apparently poor, parents. They couldn’t even find a hotel room. And then angels appear in the sky? Talk about a story!
Quieter still seems to be the Easter story. The one that began with the Christmas story. You can’t have one without the other. They are entwined in an inextricable way. Birth, death, eternal life. Truth.
But others would choose to believe in spring and nature and a bunny who lays eggs? Who doesn’t like a good change up here and there. It’s all in fun. And it’s far easier to believe in Easter bunnies who only want to give us chocolate and require nothing in return than believe in a Christ who asks us to take up our cross and follow him.
So there is truth but it’s only another alternative fact of the day.
Henry and I have these discussions. I seem to understand the notion of choosing ones truth. He doesn’t. He struggles with the thought that these men he loves and serves and preaches the word of God to day after day could think the bible is anything but truth. THE truth. That Jesus is THE truth. Perhaps more accurately, the truth is Jesus.
We will celebrate Palm Sunday. Several of our residents will be chosen to read the scripture for the day. They may not believe the words they read but we know they are sharing truth. And when God’s truth is read He is honored.
We will host a expression of the Seder meal and walk through the meaning of God’s salvation to the Israelites and to us, through Jesus.
We will prepare a prayer labyrinth for them. A walk through several stations as they are guided to consider their relationship with Jesus.
Good Friday will be recognized and the price Christ paid will be told in graphic detail. We will consider our sins and his forgiveness.
And Easter Sunday we will come together outside with the sun just over the trees. And we will sing and we will proclaim our truth that Christ the Lord has risen today. Alleluia!
We’ll also have plenty of those chocolate eggs. Most of them are hollow, just like the truth they hold.