Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
If Easter is all about surprises,
then why am I so surprised?
The message was on my voicemail when I returned home.
I had been away for a week on a mission trip.
It was late Saturday evening,
the night before Easter.
“This is the veterinarian’s office.
You dog’s test came back.
He has tapeworms.
Please stop by the office
so we can give you the medication that he needs.
In the meanwhile,
please remove all fecal material from your yard.”
Now I am a big boy,
I don’t need to be coddled.
I knew that fecal material meant poopie.
And poopie was not in short supply.
We were just escaping from the winter that seemed to never end,
and there was plenty of poopie in the now snowless yard.
I had known that this was going to be an Easter different than any other.
Most of my family was away for the weekend.
Because the winter cold had persisted through March,
the world still looked like January.
No flowers, no buds on trees,
just dormant grass.
There were no Easter decorations or even an Easter basket to be had.
Preparations for the trip had nixed that.
Anything with chocolate and peanut butter?
Maybe……….. if I visited the candy aisle at a convenience store.
Only in my dreams.
Easter was just going to feel different this year.
And so, late Easter afternoon,
I had the poor man’s version of an Easter Egg hunt.
Some people use baskets to collect their Easter treasures.
I prefer a shovel and latex gloves.
Most people look forward to a good Easter egg roll.
I prefer mine gently lifted to the nearest compost pile.
Looking for bright pastels?
How about settling for muted shades and earth tones?
You might be surprised how many poopies
can accumulate in a yard over a 4 month winter.
Peter Cottontail might have been bringing Easter joy by the baskets.
I however, was doubly blessed…..
mine came by the wheelbarrowful.
Meanwhile, my dog was doing his hippity, hoppity thing around the back lawn
like an Easter bunny on steroids……
locating every tennis ball and toy that had been lost during the winter.
It was wheelbarrow load number three that took me to the front of the house.
That’s where the Easter surprise came…..
an Easter basket left at the front door
filled with Easter candies and goodies.
Sometimes, you go through the poopy times to get to the good times.
That is the story of Easter.
You have to go through the muck of life so that you can soar for eternity.
You have to scoop some manure before you can enjoy the flowers.
And you have to die before you can live again.
After all, if it isn’t unexpected,
it isn’t Easter.
The first Easter had nothing to do with flowers, baskets,
egg hunts, or candy.
It began with fear, disappointment, sorrow, and regret.
Grown men hiding behind locked doors,
fearing for their lives.
And then Truth broke through
and told them
“Peace be with you”
And it was,
along with love and joy.
But to quote Lucy in Peanuts by Charles Schultz,
“ a little chocolate doesn’t hurt either.”
Nor does a yard without any poopie.
“When therefore it was evening, on that day,
the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.’ “