We should have held a dress rehearsal.
On Easter morning, our family really struggled to get ready for the early worship service. Though we’d laid out our clothes the night before, I hadn’t tended to all the details. We have, after all, been to church before and I guess I was a little arrogant.
Underwear wasn’t dry yet, pants were too tight, shoes were missing; sundresses became “too flowery” overnight; skirts were a little short for Easter and socks were “too itchy.”
At one point, I heard myself say, “LeBron James socks ARE TOO appropriate for worship” because I just wanted Katie to get in the freaking car.
At another point, I said to my husband, “I adore you, but worship starts in thirty minutes and I cannot help you with the mystery of why your suit pants look like that. Perhaps you’ve been losing weight without even trying, which is kind of mean or maybe your pants are old and out of style. Most likely, your legs have shrunk several inches below the knees. I have to go convince Elizabeth to wear the flowery dress.”
I was too late. Elizabeth had found a lobster dress that I’d bought for mid-summer, certainly not for a chilly Easter morning. She was thrilled with her dress choice, but I was not loving it. Why were we struggling so much to simply get ready? This was when I started mumbling, “Not today, Satan. Not. Today.”
Finally, I sent Bryan ahead with the twins, yelling, “Save yourself” as he drove away. Caleb was crawling around in the minivan, looking for his brown shoes, which he didn’t find. He said he could just wear black shoes, but I thought he said “tap shoes” and I honestly didn’t care either way. I just needed clothes and shoes on all the bodies.
As a mom, I spend a good part of my day caring for the bodies of my family. From infancy on, it’s our job as parents to feed and protect these little people; we help them rest and grow. Then, we teach them to do all these things for themselves. Being a parent is a very physical job.
During the Christmas season, we hear a lot about the “incarnation” of Jesus, about God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. This Lenten and Easter season, though, I’ve been acutely aware of the humanity of Jesus.
I’ve noticed how much of the Gospel story is about human bodies, including Jesus feeding the crowds and healing the sick. Even the stories of Jesus needing rest or walking with his friends are so very human. The descriptions of his cruxifixction and death are all about the way his body was harmed and then cared for by those that loved him. The whole story of Jesus living among us is, at its core, very physical.
Our physical selves can feel like a real burden sometimes, with all the maintenance and care required. Nonetheless, if God chose to become flesh, I have to believe that our bodies are a true gift. There must be something we can only learn from being in these physical bodies.
I’m not sure what those lessons are yet, but I’m guessing it has something to do with compassion and humility and grace. It probably has something to do with the triumph of a risen Lord, whose body was broken, but not defeated. It might even have to do with the connectedness of family and the delight of a child in an Easter lobster dress. And lots and lots of joy.