Scrolling Instagram, I came upon a post by a fit influencer flowing through a yoga sequence, with a back drop of Cali-blue sky and a Jack Johnson instrumental. The caption read something like this:
“Through the art of showing up, I’ve been able to grow in my practice. Get trim and toned. Feel more at peace.”
As I sipped my Matcha tea, I thought how tempting it would be to believe that moving my body on a deck with such a background could do this: bring me peace. But my life has proven that it’s taken more than just a few sun salutations. The true art of showing up and finding true peace goes deeper.
What is Easter About Anyways?
Easter is almost here and I reflect on the days leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. For folks who identify as Christian (or Christ follower or friend of Jesus or whatever), this time of year means more than bunny stories, egg coloring, looking fancy and binging on American pastel-coated corn syrup. Easter signifies this mystical time when faith and love sacrifice led to an eternal promise that is ours even today if we accept it.
My grandparents who were Catholic (in case this is relevant), had a painting of the Lord’s Supper hanging in their kitchen/dining room, right above the table where the family ate and congregated. I never knew what the scene depicted other than that it was some momentous occasion where a group of long-haired dudes (like Phish groupies) looked like they were about to fight Jesus for the last chicken wing. In reality, it was the last meal this rag-tag bunch would share together with Jesus on earth.
Jesus as the Ultimate Influencer
In a BSF study of the book of Matthew, I am learning more about these days leading up to what we now call Easter. The first communion, Peter’s denial, the pride and drowsiness of the disciples, and finally trudging to a land called Gethsemane. In my mind, I can see the garden with its twisted limbs of ancient olive trees, smell the clay dust, hear the distant breathing of the disciples who had fallen asleep.
These moments captured in scripture, these are days when Jesus shows up fully. With sweat and tears and bloat and angst, he throws himself down before the Father, knowing full well what is ahead.
I wonder what the dirt tasted like? I wonder if Jesus saw the arching and crawling trunks of the olive trees like a mirror of his own form, bending in torment of what was to come.
Jesus pleads and prays as his closest friends sleep, oblivious. He asks for this cup of suffering to be spared him, but ultimately lands where he knows he has to: showing up as a child obedient to his father’s will.
"My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done."
This is not an Insta-worthy scene. There is no instrumental that can soften it, no flow that can ease and stretch or simplify. No words that will make it more palatable. In Jesus’ death, the ultimate obedience, he shows us what it truly means to show up. To surrender to God.
The Good News of Easter
You might be wondering what the good news is here. You might long for something a bit more palatable. An ease to suffering. An answer to prayer. A mercy.
Stay with me, friend. There is good news because the story doesn’t end here.
Today, we can be assured that on the other side of our struggle is something new. In our showing up, for the hard things, in our prayers Your will be done, even in the face of uncertainty, we can have the hope of salvation and redemption. Jesus shows us this picture of showing up and offers this gift.
Want to learn more about Easter and the art of showing up? Check this out!