Big and Little Easters
By Laura Hernandez
This week we in Season 13 find ourselves a little over a month away from the conclusion of our year as Capital Fellows and also in the midst of celebrating Holy Week in anticipation of Easter Sunday. And our present circumstances couldn’t be further from what I expected they would be even a month ago. On Monday afternoons, we Fellows girls and Lauren Stephens have begun the practice of joining together for a virtual coffee date and check-in with each other. This past Monday, Lauren challenged us to take a moment to reflect on the “little Easters” of our lives during this past year. The concept of “little Easters” comes from a chapter of Joyce Rupp’s book, Fresh Bread, where she discusses the practice of watching for and celebrating life’s smaller moments where the Lord shows his grace and goodness to us, bringing our souls from death to life again.
To be perfectly honest with you, this exercise made me pause for a moment in an initial response of disappointment. Holy Week and Easter Sunday are my absolute favorite celebrations of the year. The opportunity to praise and sing about the resurrection of our Savior and king Jesus in the company of a church community in the warm, bright sunshine of that spring Sunday morning gives me joy like no other. The fact that Easter Sunday will look a little different this year initially feels like a bit of a discouragement. As I reflected on that reality, I also took a moment to recap this entire past year, from college graduation up to this moment, and thought about how a lot of life has played out differently from how I expected it to all those months ago.
However, in Rupp’s chapter of “The Little Easters”, she also makes the reassuring point that “Easter is more than a feeling moment”. Noticing the little Easters includes noticing the quieter instances where God has made his presence known to us, reigniting the hope of his steadfast love in our lives, even in the midst of less than ideal circumstances. Looking again at this past year, I can unmistakably see how the Lord has shown me such kindness by making his closeness to my heart starkly apparent, gently drawing me back to himself in a way that I can only describe as pure grace. I’ve been able to witness his faithfulness in relationships with the people he’s placed around me this year, like the Fellows, the MPC community, my host family and also in the simpler moments like the quiet afternoons spent during winter retreat together by Lake Anna or like our last in-person round table dinner, when we talked, laughed, and sang outside together on a gorgeous spring evening.
And then I was hit with the realization that this exactly is an instance of renewal and resurrection in Christ. Borrowing a phrase Amy used during our virtual coffee time, this experience of the closeness of Jesus is a pretty “big little Easter”. Jesus’ presence right here and right now, even in this strange and uncertain season of both the COVID-19 quarantine and the final weeks of the Capital Fellows program, is precisely why we still have reason to celebrate and sing. Jesus rose up on that third day to undo brokenness, pain, disease, and loneliness and to come back again one day to make all things new again. What a beautiful promise to look forward to, even and especially given the present circumstances.
Borrowing from the frequently and belovedly quoted Tim Keller in his book Jesus the King, this is my prayer for us Fellows and for you as you reflect and rest in the miracle of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection this Holy Week and upcoming Easter Sunday:
On the Day of the Lord—the day that God makes everything right, the day that everything sad comes untrue—on that day the same thing will happen to your own hurts and sadness. You will find that the worst things that have ever happened to you will in the end only enhance your eternal delight. On that day, all of it will be turned inside out and you will know joy beyond the walls of the world. The joy of your glory will be that much greater for every scar you bear. So live in the light of the resurrection and renewal of this world, and of yourself, in a glorious, never-ending, joyful dance of grace.
Tim Keller, Jesus the King
Pictures from the Week
Here's a little photo gallery of some of Laura's favorite floral views during this season! Being able to enjoy the sunshine and be outside has been a highlight of these days for many of us.
Benefits of The Fellows Initiative
You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 31 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary offers a 40% tuition discount! You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here.
If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!
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