March 28, 2013

The Greatest Story Ever Told

John and I walked home after church this past Sunday. We were carrying palms, of course - a whole handful of them. Our church was very generous with the amount they handed out this year. The palms were long, slender, and bright green and we found that they attracted a lot of attention on the street. A few of the passersby seemed to remember, all of a sudden, that it was Palm Sunday.

When we got into our building and huddled into the elevator, we were greeted by one of our neighbors, a woman around our age that neither of us had ever spoken to before.

“Oh palms!” she said with a smile. “That must mean that next Sunday is Easter, my favorite day of the year.”

“Really?” I said. I have to admit that her comment took me by surprise. Until that moment I’d known her simply as the woman with the beautiful chocolate lab.

“Absolutely! I’m definitely a ‘Chreastian’, by which I mean a Christmas and Easter Christian, but I love, love, love the story of Easter. It’s the greatest story ever told! I always tell my kids the Easter story every year.” And with that, the elevator doors opened at her floor, she got out and waved goodbye.

I’ve found myself thinking a lot about my neighbor’s love of Easter this Holy Week. I’m wondering about what details of the story she likes, whether it’s the stone that’s rolled away or how Mary Magdalene comes to realize the gardener’s true identity. Or maybe it’s not a particular detail at all and is, in fact, the main story itself - the story of life conquering death and of hope winning out over despair, a story she finds so important that it’s the one story of her faith that she wishes to share with her children.

I’m so grateful for this unexpected encounter with my neighbor, a “Chreastian”, whose love of Easter is helping me hear this familiar story anew.