An Evening at the Farm, and a Lamb at the Table
My cousin Stephanie started a new tradition with her family today. They celebrated Good Friday by re-creating the Passover Seder in their home. As I began Easter preparations for my own family, I thought this would be a great teaching tool for our kids and a very thoughtful way to reflect on the meaning of Good Friday.
I was just at a loss this year. Everything I thought to do was just not enough. This is the time to remember and process our amazing redemption story, but how can I accurately convey the sacrifice that is Jesus to my children? This season, even more than most, I feel such an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all that was accomplished that day on the cross.
For a long time I have had no trouble believing, "Jesus died for the sins of the world." I’ve sort of always envisioned the master plan of God as a high-volume, manufacturing corporation producing something for the masses. I just happened to be covered because I was standing under the umbrella.
But not today. After all the grace that needed to be applied this year, and seeing his real and relevant power actively working, filling my needs, just as real and true as the blood that runs through my veins. His power, as old as the cross and fresh today, works freely, offering forgiveness & holiness, bringing such a mess of sinners into His favor. None of this could have been possible had He not died.
For my sins.
He extended that day the opportunity for me to be made blameless as He is. It is very important God see me as blameless, so I can come into His presence. This is no small thing. Without God’s presence I could not maneuver through this life. I can only been seen as Holy because Jesus is Holy and I stand behind Him.
As I attempted this great story with my kids today, my two-year-old, Judah listened intently. Everytime I said "tomb" his little brain interpreted "jail." I would say, "They put Him in a tomb," Judah corrected me. "They put Him in jail."
"Well, it was like a jail....but, only He was dead, but ok, you're two, so ok, it was a jail."
Finally once we established where Jesus was put, Judah wrinkled his nose and said, "Why'd he do dat?" Every answer I gave him was followed by "Why?"
He's right, actually. The story just does not make sense unless you could wrap your mind around the idea of a love so great that could put your own child through something like that to save a person like me. Or like you.
How do you explain a love like that to a little one? I so badly wanted to do something special today that would give their little minds and hearts just a bit of understanding of the enormity of love that must be present for us. As I ransacked my brain trying to come up with a creative teaching method, I thought of our evening the night before.
We got invited by our new friends Paul and Heather to spend the evening at their farm, Pastured Providence Farmstead: http://www.pasturedprovidence.com
We toured their farm and saw all the animals which included pigs, chickens, donkeys, cows, sheep, and lots of baby animals for us to ooh and ahh over. The weather was a warm spring day and all was perfect. (Except I had forgotten to put mud boots on the kids and they wore their good shoes. Oops).
Just last week we sold our house in the city which consists of a small front yard by a busy street. Up until now, my kids' freedom has been limited, as my two year old still bee-lines straight for the road every time he gets out of the house.
At the farm however, it was a glorious free-for-all. They didn't know what to do first: Jump in every single mud puddle (and thanks to Paul for pointing out, "that's not mud"), pester every single animal, chase the farm dogs or try out the tractors. Gabe chose rolling down the hill.
The whole evening had a nostalgic "Charlotte's Web" feel.
Just look at those pigs!
Paul guided us up the field to see the cows. After trekking up a large hill, to our surprise, we were just minutes too late for witnessing a new calf being born. He was still sticky and being licked by his momma when we arrived.
Earlier that day three baby ewes were born. One of them was not strong enough to nurse so he was brought inside the farmhouse. As we polished off the last bit of Heather's amazing lasagna and spiced sherry cake, Paul asked if we minded that he feed the little thing at the table.
That's what came to my mind this morning as I tried so hard to figure out how to celebrate this reverent day.
A lamb was at our dinner table.
It was so simple. The newborn ewe was brought into the house while all the clatter and clammour went on as we prepped for dinner and corralled all of our children. The kids kept going over to the box the lamb was nestled in and peeking their heads over the side as they played. Then, right at dinner, he was brought over to the table.
A lamb was at our dinner table. Hmmm....
Why was it a lamb that needed this extra tending this night out of all the other animals the farm held? Coincidence? Maybe. But maybe if for nothing else, to be used as a profound yet simple reminder. Jesus is the lamb of God, after all. He was the ultimate and final sacrifice for atonement. Forgiveness is just the start of all that was extended to us at the cross.
We can have victory instead of defeat because of Him. My problem, your problem, is not as difficult as defeating death and hell, surely. And that has already been defeated.
A lamb was at our table.
As I have struggled today to grasp ahold of all that the cross means to me and try and convey that to my kids, I realize the best thing I can do, is to have Him present. Not just at our table. Not just on Good Friday. To keep Him present in all of our family routines. To invite Him in and be mindful of His closeness as we play, as we work, as we laugh, as we cry, or scream, or win, or plan, or fail. In all we do, we invite Him in.
An honored guest at our table.
Shauna’s end goal in writing is to shift the reader’s focus off of their problems and onto the Solver. She has just signed on her first book with Zondervan Publishing. Underqualified but experienced in problems, she writes about the wreckage and the Redeemer. Shauna graduated from Christ for the Nations Institute with a focus on world missions. She lives on Ohio farm land in a home made of shipping containers with her husband and three boys and is passionate about running, crafting, and hipster food. She has a line of pop-tarts named after her in her hometown.