Never! None! Zero!

That’s what my three-year-old Avery said to my wife one day. Usually this would result in a time-out or at least a temporary ban from her favorite treat, kale chips (how my wife accomplished this feat deserves its own post). But in this circumstance my daughter was absolutely right to respond the way she did.

During the last couple weeks of Lent, Avery was read several children’s books containing versions of the Easter story. All the hope of the resurrection only makes sense if there is first a death and that’s where reading the Easter story to kids gets complicated. How do we explain death? When Kati explained to Avery that Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins and that eventually everybody has to die. Avery didn’t like this and blurted out, “I never want to die! Never! None! Zero!” Avery knows already at three what every human being deep inside knows: death and decay seem unnatural. We should be able to live forever without ageing or loss of any kind…In fact the Bible supports Avery’s theological opinion. Ecclesiastes says that God has put eternity in our hearts. We as human beings weren’t intended to decay but the sin of distancing ourselves from God brought upon the curse of death….We try to make ourselves feel alive…

Yes, Scripture says that God has put eternity in our hearts, which means that we all know that we were never meant to die. When God made Adam and Eve, death was not part of the plan. But humanity rebelled against God’s leadership and said to Him, “We can live life better on our own!” God said in return, “Go right ahead.” Ever since the sin of rebellion entered the human race like a cancer, God has been on a rescue mission to get us back. But we keep trying to make our lives feel important by making money, impressing our peers, trying to be a good person and achieving things so people will say nice things about us. Deep inside we know we were meant for something good and beautiful and great. But often life seems like a constant drive to prove our worth and to do something that will make us feel valued, wanted and unforgettable. We are slaves to self-rejection. We live fearfully in everyday life and ultimately of death. My daughter Avery knows we were never meant to die: Never. None Zero. My wife Kati shared the good news of Easter with Avery: “Jesus was so kind that He took the cross so we could live forever…He’s working on a room for you right now…and we’ll live with Him forever.” How did Avery respond to this good news! “Yeah!!!!” Now that is the kind of response I’d like to hear from my congregation as we celebrate the truth of the resurrection each Sunday. Avery will be getting an extra serving of kale chips for such a great response!

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