A few years ago I was headed to the lake with my oldest son on an especially warm day late in March. He was five years old at the time. We talked of many things, but our conversation soon turned to the upcoming Easter holiday.
I was recounting the story of Christ's triumphant entry to Jerusalem and the subsequent events that culminated in his barbaric death on the Roman cross. He seemed especially stunned by the soldiers who taunted Jesus and the one who finally pierced his side. Suddenly, he spoke the words I remember to this day.
"Daddy, when I get to heaven I'm going to hit those soldiers on the head."
"Why?" I responded.
"Because Jesus is my friend."
We hadn't yet discussed the finer points of the Christian faith, which might account for those soldiers not being in heaven with him. Nor, had we ever really approached the subject of turning the other cheek.
It was simply an honest reaction from an innocent child, and it strikes me nearly as much now as it did back then. I remember telling Lisa I wished I felt like Luke, but for some reason it never occurred to me. The soldiers' cruelty really angered him. Jesus was his friend.
I'm not sure I could say same.
One reason I write so much about kids is because the birth of my own did prompt a spiritual awakening of sorts inside of me. I think God made us that way. There's just something miraculous, in my opinion, about experiencing firsthand, children birthed from the union of husband and wife. I remember how this new responsibility softened my heart and heightened my sensitivity.
Time has a way of changing things, though. The brilliant incandescence of that time has faded some. Selfishness is creeping back in. My spiritual intensity just isn't the same. I can still preach and pontificate with the best of them, but living out that faith when the microphones go dead is an entirely different story. I know all the right things to say and do. I want to feel like doing them, though.
It's so easy for a child to believe. Why does it sometimes seem so impossible to me?
The Easter season is a time of renewal and rebirth. The sun feels warm again. During this time, all of nature bears witness to a great gardner who planted a magnificent field. It's a time to sow seeds which will produce a great harvest. It's time for me to live what I preach.