Easter 2019 Diary: Sense of Sacrifice

TOUCH

It’s really hard to believe that Christ was truly resurrected. It’s much easier to make alternate explanations—that He never died in the first place, that eyewitnesses were lying, that records have been falsely modified since then. Yet, even these explanations are not free from assumption.

When thinking about the intersection of touch and Easter, my mind immediately goes to “Doubting” Thomas. He had assumptions about the validity of Christ’s resurrection—just like many do today. But, instead of simply being content with his preconceived notions, he sought to challenge them. He reached out and touched the holes in Jesus’ hands, the gash in His side; he wanted to feel and know for himself.1

I think that that’s still the mission set out for us today. We must be willing to challenge our prior thoughts, to reach out and touch for ourselves.

– Carley Eschliman, ’20

TASTE

I celebrate Easter, or rather, the resurrection of Jesus, each time I take communion. In the Hebrew tradition, the words, “Take this and eat. This is my body broken for you,” are actually used in proposals. As I take the bread and eat, of course I am reminded that Jesus’ body was broken so that I may die to sin, and raised so that I may live real life in Him. However, I am also reminded that I belong to Him and live for Him. “The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.”2

– Sarah Castor, ’21

SMELL

In addition to church services, visiting family, and extravagant feasts, my childhood Easters were marked by a less traditional event: a five-foot-tall pile of leaf mulch dumped on our driveway. It didn’t look like much, but passing by the pile I’d smell the rich, earthy odor of last September’s leaves and know that it was ready to nourish our growing plants. Once it arrived, my whole family would pitch in to spread it around our trees and on our flowerbeds, and its characteristic scent would stay in my nostrils for weeks.

Mulch isn’t something we might associate with Easter; few churches would try to smell mulchy for Resurrection Sunday. But as a Christian, I believe that Jesus’s death and resurrection invite us not only into a world of carefully manicured flower arrangements and pristine hors d’oeuvres, but a world of old leaves and wriggling worms and young plants. Indeed, the Gospels attest that Mary Magdalene mistook the resurrected Christ for a gardener—dirt under his nails, sweat on his back.3 Through being incarnated and resurrected bodily, Jesus assumed the physical, earthy elements of humanity. He was anointed with our loveliest perfumes, yes; but he also took on the humble scent of our mulch.

– Amy Crouch, ’22

SIGHT

Easter is vibrant: plastic eggs in a thousand shades of neon are carefully hidden, pastels are pulled from the back of the closet, even the flowers themselves burst forth into colorful life. When I see Easter, I see the whole spectrum of brilliant color that light reflects into the world. So, too, do I think of the light of the world Himself—how He, emerging from the darkness of a tomb, must have opened His eyes to a sky so blue, to warm brown skin, to the verdant bloom of leaves. And how, once more, He was able to see that it was good.

– Brooke Lindsey, ’21

HEARING

When I think of Easter, I hear my cousin’s voice eagerly reminding all the family, right before Easter dinner, to scoop the marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes straight down, as not to cheat the system and steal extra marshmallows. Easter reminds me of the times gathering together with family to celebrate what we believe together, from the Westminster Brass playing favorite Easter hymns at the sunrise service in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, to an afternoon spent with family and friends. These sounds remind me that what I celebrate during Easter is not just something I believe in, but a shared belief with many around me. During my time in college, the circumstances have changed, but the sentiment has not. No matter where I am in the world—celebrating with my family back home, with peers at Cornell and my church family here in Ithaca, or even at an English-speaking church in Amsterdam while studying abroad my junior spring—the resurrection continues to resound.

– Ellie Schmucker, ’19

1 John 20:24-29

2 Galatians 2:20

3 John 20:15

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