Focal verse

“Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent’” (John 6:28-29).

Reflection

It wasn’t even a month after Christmas when my children began making their new lists for Santa. It’s the same with birthdays. My summer birthday boy is now planning his theme and decorations and wondering who will be with him to celebrate. Both kids love to dream about their parties, gifts, friends and joy shared. Time is hard to explain to children who want to celebrate right here and now. “But that will take forever,” they tell me when I count how many months remain until their birthdays.

As April begins, we may feel a similar sort of anticipation mixed with impatience. It feels like Easter will never be here. We worry that peace will never be reached. Our children are still requesting the same snacks and the same tantrums are occurring. We can’t seem to find our way toward the light. We’re still not sleeping through the night. Yet Easter is coming.

We will celebrate the resurrection of Christ. But we’ll also dine with him for the last supper, we’ll deny and run from him, we may even betray him. We’ll walk with him to Golgotha, stand with him beside the cross, and then we’ll wait for the stone to be rolled away.

Much of our faith is a tension between the already and the not yet. We watch our children grow and make mistakes, but we know they’ll have more chances to learn. We see the relationships before us but desire a deeper connection. We see the injustices many face and long to bring acts of healing. When we’re living in this period of anticipation and uncertainty, we can ask ourselves and our families: What can we do now? What does this moment require of us?

Perhaps it’s a moment of prayer, or collecting spare change to send to relief workers, or stepping outside to feel the sun on our faces. We see Christ in our neighbors. We wake up and feed our children, make our beds, encourage kindness among friends and pray for the work before us now.

As a family waiting for Easter, take time this month to see what’s being called of you right now in your lives. Trust that the God who walks to the cross and meets us on the side of the empty tomb will meet you in your daily life.

Practices

Take a walk around your neighborhood and keep your eyes open for the needs of your community. List ways you can share and serve others right where you are.

During Holy Week, bake bread as a family and share with someone in your community. Be intentional about touching the ingredients and smelling the baking bread. Give thanks for simple gifts.

Prayers

We pray for peace throughout the world.

We pray that our eyes are opened to your goodness before us.

We pray for those waiting for good news.

We give thanks for communities opening their doors and homes to welcome others.

We give thanks for those who prepare worship spaces and services.

We give thanks for the hope found in Jesus’ resurrection.

Service opportunity 

Next time you visit a restaurant or drive-thru, leave an encouraging note for the next customer and, if you’re able, pay for some of their food or drink.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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