Eastertime has a special place in my heart, but not for the actual holiday of Easter Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I like ham and chocolate eggs as much as the next person, but I find this time an opportunity to carve out moments for quiet reflection in the days and sometimes hours leading to that Easter sunrise.
There’s something big in something small and quiet.
Just a couple of weeks ago we played a game with our youth group at church. Adult leaders dressed as a Roman soldiers and the youth pretended to be Christians and ran around the church trying to escape our capture while they looked for the “secret place of worship.” It was all in good fun, but when we finally all gathered in the small candlelit back room, we discussed the reality of the need for this type of “secret” worship space for early Christians in Rome. Sadly, it still remains a reality in many places all over the world for Christians as well as for people of other faiths.
Just this week my cousin in Africa sent me a picture via email of a small group of people sitting on her floor in a circle worshiping and studying together. I’d love to share the picture, but for security reasons I cannot. I’m grateful to live in a country where we are ensured the freedom of religion, but even so, like many others, I have still felt the sting of persecution right here.
When we were playing the game, we asked the youth (in our best authoritative Roman soldier voices), “Are you one of those Christians?” They all denied it to escape…for them…all part of the game. But their “game day” reaction isn’t all that far from reality. It is difficult to share your faith when it could cost you your life, your job, your working relationships, or your friends.
This Easter I quietly climbed a mesa top in the dark and waited for a small group of people to join me — strangely reminiscent of another gathering long ago in Galilee– and together we watched the world awaken, welcomed the sun, and declared what I believe to be the only true hope there is for this world.
There is something big in something small and quiet.