It is not easy to convey a sense of wonder, let alone resurrection wonder, to another. It’s the very nature of wonder to catch us off guard, to circumvent expectations and assumptions. Wonder can’t be packaged, and it can’t be worked up. It requires some sense of being there and some sense of engagement.
― Eugene H. Peterson
In 1974, I was 6 years old.
We were not “churchy” people. In fact, I’m not sure that I had ever even been to church, except when in Kansas visiting grandparents.
My parents had legally immigrated to Canada during the Vietnam War and ties with their Southern Baptist upbringings had come undone. Ten years later, we were living on a rustic farm in rural Eastern Ontario, with the closest town a place called North Augusta. Their fragile marriage was struggling to survive.
For some reason, a kind woman suddenly offered to take me and my brother to Sunday School with her on Wednesday evenings. With four kids at home and a huge garden, barns and animals to tend, I’m sure my mom was happy for the relief offered by two less children underfoot for a few hours each week.
Nearly all of the Bible stories were brand new to me. I came home one spring week, devastated and heartbroken. I had heard the story of how Jesus had died. As far as I knew, He was gone. Forever. After learning for weeks of how loving and wise and caring He had been, I simply couldn’t believe it. How could this be?
I’m not sure why I didn’t hear part 2 of the story before my return to Sunday School the following week. Obviously, my parents knew how the story ended. Perhaps they were distracted, or simply weren’t aware of how much I had been impacted by hearing of Jesus’ death.
Regardless, when that next Wednesday evening arrived, I was truly astounded to hear that Jesus had risen from the dead. Amazement and joy overcame me, eclipsing every other emotion and worry. I returned home that night, chattering on about my wonderful news, sure that everyone would want to know. My parents have told me how my sense of wonder kindled a longing within them to reconnect with their faith.
Some months later, they began to re-cultivate their own sense of wonder. The cynicism, resentment, anger and discontentment that they had built up over the years began over time to recede in the face of the resurrection, and in light of the miracles they could now see happening all around them, every day.
Now in my 45th year, I continue to be grateful for the sense of resurrection wonder that accompanies Easter each spring, inspiring me to seek out greater depths of truth and joy.
Things die and are reborn every day, all around me. Yet all things are possible with God.
I never want to lose my sense of wonder. Though I’ve certainly experienced my own doubts over the years, I can’t help myself.
No matter how dark the day, I simply believe.
It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection. ― Voltaire