The Easter Story
Just reading those words, I’m sure your mind is instantly flooded with memories, images, feelings, ideas and hopes.
Easter - the most mysterious and defining event of our Christian faith. In the simplest terms, it is the celebration of the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Most people, including others outside of our faith, have some narrative of the Easter story.
But who gave them that narrative? Where did it come from?
Children’s Worship and Wonder
I’ve had the honor of being trained as a Children’s Worship and Wonder (CW&W) storyteller. At the heart of CW&W, is the idea that rather than telling our young ones what to believe and which bible stories to memorize and how to worship, CW&W is specifically designed for them to connect with their faith in personal, creative and meaningful ways. Before I began my journey as a storyteller, naively, I thought my job was pretty basic. Allow an opportunity for the young ones to shape their faiths in an authentic and holistic way. What I was not expecting was how sharing these stories with the young ones would shape my own faith.
In our CW&W space, we always begin by reminding everyone that the space is sacred. After the story is presented, the children are asked “wondering” questions. This is the space where the real faith building happens.
“The worship center is a very special place. It is a special place to be with God, to talk to God, to listen to God, and to hear the stories of God. In this place, we have all the time we need.”
Jesus is Risen: Appearance to Mary Magdalene
In this story, we share Jesus’ post resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalene. Here, the children have a possibility, along with Mary, of recognizing Jesus as He calls her by name.
“But Mary Magdalene would not leave. She stood there crying.
Then someone said, ‘Who are you looking for…?
...and he called her by name, ‘Mary!’ She knew the sound of his voice. It was Jesus!
Jesus was alive!
Mary Magdalene was so happy she couldn’t help but tell Jesus’ friends.
‘I have seen the Lord. Jesus is risen! The Lord is risen indeed.’”
In these moments, you watch and hear the story unfolding before you; the story becomes alive! The wondering questions invite the children to become an active participant of the story. During this sacred time, I watched children over the years, come to understand their personal faith, to create their narrative of the Easter story. It was there, I too wondered with the children. Where I gave myself the space and all the time I needed to place myself in the story. I often presented the story of Jesus is Risen and each time, I experienced God in a fresh, new way.
I invite you to also wonder with us. And remember, in this place, we have all the time we need.
I wonder what it was like to be going to Jesus’ tomb that Sunday morning? ...
I wonder how Mary felt when Jesus died? …
I wonder what it feels like when someone or something you love dies? …
I wonder how Mary knew this person was Jesus? …
I wonder how Mary felt when Jesus called her by name? …
Where is Haiti in This Story?
In the Easter story, I can imagine Haiti as Mary Magdalene, standing at the empty tomb, feeling scared and ultimately defeated. Haiti has lost so much. Haitians are griveing while the media continues to portray Haiti’s future as a failure.
Back in February, there were several planned political protests that happened throughout the country; “Operation Lockdown” it was called. It was successful to bring cities, especially the capital, Port au Prince, to a grinding halt for two weeks. Unable to move freely throughout the country, and being in a tense and uncertain situation, most North Americans who were here on short term and even long term mission trips fled the country.
And then, the “civil unrest” ended. Work, schools, church services, water deliveries, local markets resumed. Life is back to normal. Yet the media continues to recycle stories of previous events - while keeping the headlines in present tense. Sadly, the intent of most media outlets to portray Haiti as a failed state.
Because of the fear the media created, high level travel advisories are in place from foreign countries, advising citizens against travel here. Some airlines have cancelled flights to and from the country for the upcoming months and even select online booking companies have gone so far as to deem travel to Haiti “illegal.”
In small developing countries, tourism is a vital part of their economy. With the airlines discontinuing flights, thousands of North Americans evacuating the country out of unnecessary fear, coupled with the depreciating currency and double-digit inflation, these actions have now crippled the already hobbling economy. Hotels are empty. Carnival was cancelled. Hundreds of jobs that were guaranteed are now gone. Opportunity and hope? Now whispers of a dream long forgotten.
Is this the end for Haiti? Is she crying defeated outside the empty tomb?
Who Are You Looking For?
As North Americans, we must take responsibility for creating chaos here, in Haiti, rather than comfort. We must not expect Haitians to look to us for answers, or imply that our home country and culture is the shining example of “success.”
We must diligently continue to learn and educate ourselves first, then others on better ways to interact with Haitians. We must be intentional with our intentions to ensure we empower Haitians to take care of their families, their country, their destiny - and to do so with dignity. We are not Haiti's savior. They already have one and His name is Jesus.
When I close my eyes, I can clearly see Jesus asking Haiti the question,
“Who are you looking for...?”
It is not for us to answer this question for Haiti.
We are commanded to love her through this part of her journey, to walk alongside her in solidarity. As brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our responsibility to wonder with her, not for her.
I wonder how Haiti feels when Jesus calls her by name? …
I wonder what it feels like for her to tell others that Jesus is risen? ...
I wonder how we all can know that Jesus is alive? ...
Stand firm in your faith, Haiti.
The tomb make look empty but do not be afraid, our Savior is risen and calling you by name.
We join in celebration with you; The Lord is risen indeed!
Prayers for Haiti
- Stand firm in her faith, in the face of all types of opposition
- To see the hope that is here and now, and always with Christ
- To teach their children to be the catalyst of change
- All foreign powers (big and small) work in ways that foster dignity while putting Haitians first among their work here