(The following appeared in the Campus Connection last year. But being Good Friday, it seemed appropriate to post on the blog today. May this be a blessed Easter weekend for each of you!)
After thirteen years of working with high school students, I have come to realize that my life revolves around Easter. In the school calendar, Easter often signifies warmer weather, Spring Break, and in many students’ minds, the “beginning of the end” of the academic year. But my focus is different. As we move from the darkness and gloom of winter, into the newness of spring, Easter reminds us that the weight of despair, the heaviness of failure, the brokenness of sin are all overwhelmed by the power and light of the Resurrection. It is the great paradox of our faith that the redemptive death of Christ produces the triumph of New Life and the possibility of a New Creation.
As I spend time across our CHCA community, the view is unique in each locale. If I were to continue my comparison with the Church calendar, when I am in our elementary schools, I often think of Christmas. Life and faith are fresh and new. One is reminded of the beauty and innocence of the Babe in a manger. Children bring gifts to the King, if not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, maybe art projects and narratives from a Writer’s Workshop. Christ admonishes us to have faith like a child and we can sense what that might look like when we walk down these halls. One cannot imagine from here the horror of the cross.
Something happens when those pure children make their way to the high school. Somehow, things do not seem so simple anymore. The happy child who liked to smile and sing “Jesus Loves Me” has somehow turned cynical and listens to disturbing music. Boundaries were made to be broken; everything is questioned. What has happened to our children? They are figuring out how to become adults. And to be honest, they begin to look a lot more like us than we would like to admit.
If you are going to live in the world of high school, Easter must become your paradigm. One of my favorite biblical characters is Peter. As the Passion narrative unfolds, Peter denies three times even knowing Jesus. He is distraught by his failure. But after the news of Jesus’ resurrection, Peter runs to the tomb! And when he first encounters the Lord again in the Galilee, He gives him a chance at redemption. Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Three times Peter answers in the affirmative. Easter brings a second chance! And when we read the Book of Acts, a transformed Peter preaches to thousands and then gives a defense of his message before the authorities (Acts 3, 4). Because of Easter, Peter is a New Creation.
Every day I walk through our halls, I see grown up elementary school kids. And sadly for some, Christmas has turned into Good Friday. The darkness is not just a passing storm but rather the shadow of Death. Lives are broken. Mistakes are made. But of all the valuable things our school can provide, I believe the greatest is a loving guide from the cross to an empty tomb. When the world tells us there is no hope, the failure is too severe, the mistake is too great, the power of the resurrection tells us there is new life! I like to think at the high school we celebrate Easter every day.
May the power of His Resurrection strengthen you and give you hope this Easter season!