Today we had beautiful weather and a special Easter outreach in the park. It was a fun mix of old and young, with about twenty kids, complete with Easter egg hunting and dyeing, picnic, and lots of play and conversation.
Since Eric wasn’t able to do the Easter talk for our outreach today, I got an email on Saturday morning asking me to do the message. I asked one of our Japanese ministry partners to share the Easter story from the Bible first, and then I shared a simple story for children in Japanese from my childhood. Here it is in a simple English translation:
When I was a child, I had two favorite holidays: Christmas and Easter. Today I’d like to share with you my best Christmas memory; and my saddest Easter memory.
One Christmas morning, my sisters and I opened the presents under the tree. We were thrilled and thankful. What we didn’t realize, though, was that the most amazing present of all was out on the front porch. What do you think it was? It was two baby sheep. We were shocked; thrilled. My Dad had bought them several days before and kept them hidden for Christmas morning.
My sisters and I raised the lambs to be sheep. And then the female sheep became pregnant and gave birth to two female lambs. One of them became mine, and I named her Sassy.
I loved taking care of her! I would hurry home from school to be with her. I was in little girl heaven.
The following Easter, our family went to Easter worship service, and then to my Grandmother’s for Easter dinner. When we got home, we couldn’t find Sassy anywhere. And then my Dad found a pile of blood, and truck tire marks. We realized that Sassy had been stolen and killed.
I was devastated. But it was from this event that I realized some important things.
Our sheep came to us on Christmas day and entered our world. And on Easter day, someone killed my lamb. Similarly, Jesus entered our world on Christmas day. And on Easter day, some people killed this Lamb.
In the Bible it says that Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
I was really angry at whoever stole and killed Sassy. But Jesus, on the cross, prayed in the midst of his great pain, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Because of his example, I was able to forgive the ones who had stolen my lamb.
My Easter story is really sad, but the real Easter story has a happy ending. Easter is the celebration of the day in which Jesus rose from the dead. This is really amazing — really Good News.
I believe that Jesus is alive and living today. AndiIf you have been hurt by someone, Jesus can give you a heart able to forgive. This is really Good News!