By Jenny Smith
Do you remember being 5 years old? I remember taking a nap in kindergarten, playing at the sand and water table, and some boy pulling my ponytail on the playground. Now, I’m having the time of my life watching my 5-year-old navigate her world. A couple things she has shared recently:
“I don’t like when the boys be loud. They’re loud all over the place.”
“Mom, I think our fish are hungry because I keep forgetting to feed them.” We all have a 5-year-old inside of us that’s holding a brightly colored balloon. We’re fascinated by it. It bounces along, goes where we go, we have no other goal than watching what this balloon does. Pure joy and curiosity. Wide awake and bright eyed. That 5-year-old is in you. Some of you know this, and you’re in touch with this 5-year-old. They come out to play many days. But many of us don’t know this 5-year-old anymore. We took their balloon away a long time ago. We popped a hole in it and watched the air rush out with a force that took part of our soul with it. Or maybe we let go of something important to us, and it simply drifted away. Someone hurt us so we started to armor up. We figured out how to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. And the 5-year-old had to pack up their toys and fade into the background. And now we walk around as adults seeing the balloons of others and wondering why we can’t just be like them. Everyone else looks like they’ve got it together. We hold and hide our half-deflated balloon inside, trying to protect the air we’ve got left. We’re just trying to get through life. But here’s the thing. The One who created you wants you to know your 5-year-old self. To know joy, curiosity, childlike faith. God wants you to play. God wants you to hold your balloon full of glorious air with delight.
This is the work of Easter. Resurrection sees the despair in skimming the surface of our existence. The best parts of us are below the surface. Way below the surface. Resurrection calls us to those places. And in those places, we find freedom and joy. What if our freedom lives inside our fear? Why is fear such a theme in resurrection? A new life, a new shiny, bouncy, joyful balloon is given to us, and we’re terrified. Are we scared of joy? It can feel out of control. Are we scared of becoming new? Of leaving the known of our fear to enter the unknown of what Jesus is offering? Yes. But it’s worth it. Every single time.
Romans 6:4: Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life.
Happy Easter, my friends. Jesus is alive. May that be good news to your heart this day.
Jenny Smith is pastor of the Marysville United Methodist Church. Her columns about faith run monthly.