I meant to write this AT Easter, but life stayed busy. The fog of grief is not easy to get out from under. Planning a funeral is like planning a big party, but the guest of honor doesn't attend. It is a sad occasion with glimpses of laughter clouded by tears. There is paperwork. SO much paperwork. And decisions. Some minor. Some major. Not all can wait until the fog clears. We move slowly through dealing with life without dad, and the world spins on while it feels like a bomb dropped in our family.
I kept thinking what else is there to be said at/about Easter? SO many things have already been said/written. BUT amazingly enough when glancing back there is a link for me this year that I have not felt before. An innocent question recently that reminded me of long ago.
"Who is that man?" asked a 5 year old at our dad's visitation. I had wondered if it would be too overwhelming for the grand kids and other children that would come to see us. While death is a part of life, it is not one that is easy for us as grown ups to process let alone share with children that have questions we may not even be ready to answer for ourselves.
I thought he was looking at my brother so I started to explain that man was my brother like he had his brother along.
"No," he said. "Who is that man lying in the box by the flag?" He meant our dad. I explained it was our dad's body, but he wasn't there anymore. I don't like to say sleeping because that seems like it would make kids scared to go to sleep.
We knew dad's life journey was coming to an end. He had battled melanoma cancer that returned more times than he could fight. We had some time to process at least a bit before that day. While it was painful for us as his children to start grieving. We, as parents, were also worried about how our kids would deal with losing "Grandpa Bob".
I started to explain death to them as a butterfly. The caterpillar goes into that cocoon. When it comes out it is not the same. It breaks out of the cocoon and it is set free!
Each of us are body, mind and spirit. Our spirit lives in our body, but when it is time, we leave this body behind and we are set free!
A long time ago, many people were asking that same question: "Who is that man?"
He was a carpenter's son, he understood things that teachers couldn't explain, he gathered a group of disciples around him, he traveled around doing miracles, healing people, talking about His father, and telling stories that had a deeper meaning. People started to think He was the king they had been waiting for. They welcomed him to town by waving palm branches and saying "Hosanna!"
A group of religious leaders were asking the same question: "Who is that man?" He says he is the son of God. That he can tear down the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. He is getting too powerful. We must stop him! They found a way to get Jesus out of the way. They took him to higher ups that found him not guilty.
They wanted death by crucifixion even if it meant letting someone worse go. The same people that welcomed Jesus to their town with a parade were now shouting "Crucify him!" and they did. They hung a sign over his head to tell the world who he was: Jesus, King of the Jews.
He was later placed in a tomb with a large stone and guards in front of it. On the 3rd day, when some of his friends came, they were met by an angel: He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:6 NIV)
"Who is that man?" JESUS He was and is who He claims to be.
This year, the promise of eternal life became more obvious for our family.
It is BECAUSE Jesus died, that we are changed, we can have everlasting life and we are set free.