“Sad. Ouchies. Crying. Jesus sad. Pushing him. Ochies. Sad. Broken. Sad.”
This is the litany I have listened to for the past month every morning as my almost-two-year-old son sits with me to read the Jesus Storybook Bible.
It started about two months ago. We had a book about a bear and pig who were friends, and the pig was sad and missed the bear when he left. My son was obsessed with the last page, where the pig forlornly sits alone, missing the bear. I, being the emotionally intelligent parent that I am, thought I handled it pretty well, letting him talk about the page as much as he wanted. All emotions are okay. Some things in life are sad. Plus, this is just a phase.
But then when he discovered the “Jesus dying on the cross” story in his picture Bible and every morning began flipping to that one page, I could feel my frustration mounting.
“But just keep reading!” I would say, flipping a few pages ahead. “Look! Jesus is alive! Hooray! Look how happy everyone is! He’s okay! He fixed everything!”
I guess the pictures are not as exciting for the resurrection (come on Jago!) because after a cursory, “Alive!”, he immediately flipped back to the crucifixion. “Sad. Jesus. Cry. Broken.”
My child can’t even speak in complete sentences, but he’s making me uncomfortable. Like a lot of Christians, I’m not comfortable dwelling on the sadness. I like the resurrection. I like the Jesus fixing everything part. I like restoration. I like Easter.
But maybe my two-year old knows it’s still Lent. (Or maybe he’s just obsessed). Either way, we can’t rush it. Yes, Christ defeated death, but yes, he still suffered and the world is still broken. Lent forces us to remember this.
When I see three historically black churches in Louisiana burning, and the white terrorist who claimed responsibility, I think, “Jesus. Crying.”
When I see Notre Dame spire toppling in a cloud of smoke and flame, I think, “Sad.”
When I see frustration about politics that minimize the marginalized, the immigrant or the oppressed, I think, “Broken.”
Easter does come. We don’t have to wallow in despair.
But maybe sometimes,
like during Lent,
it’s good for me to take a minute,
let my two-year-old preach to me, and sit with the uncomfortable fact that
I’m still complicit in a broken world, that
it was our own hate and pride that killed Jesus (not just the Roman soldiers),
the world is hurting.