I’m used to feeling like an oddball during Lent—fasting privately and aware, perhaps, of a few other friends from church who spend the weeks leading up to Easter forgoing good things and meditating on what is in us that made the cross necessary. We gather at church on Sundays and sing the “Kyrie Elieson”—”Lord, have mercy upon us”—while our neighbors go about their spring-time business.
But last spring, I saw grief, fear, and uncertainty in the eyes of our neighbors, cashiers, and teachers (as they passed my daughters’ school books through the passenger window of my van). We all felt it: This is not how it’s meant to be. Something has gone horribly wrong.
This spring is, already, gloriously different. Last week I took my daughter with me to the store for the first time in a year. We had dinner with vaccinated family members—indoors, not around the firepit in the driveway. The neighbor I’ve brought groceries every so often told me that she’s almost clear to do her own shopping, and I wanted to cry and hug her right there in her front yard.
Crocuses, snowdrops, chickadees—they’re all going about their usual spring business, but I want to beam when I see them. They are still going! We are still here. We aren’t finished with this pandemic, of course, but we’ve made it this far.
And Easter is coming.
Tama Fortner’s picture book is full of movement, color, and light—it captures all this perfectly. Beginning with the beginning, Easter is Coming follows the story of Scripture from the garden of Eden onward and shows how every chapter of the story points to Jesus’s resurrection—and how even our chapter, now, points back to it.
I am a little in awe of how she manages this—in a board book, no less!—but she succeeds beautifully in showing how Jesus’s death and resurrection is the climax of all Scripture. Wazza Pink’s illustrations give the story texture and a lovely sense of abundance.
We are not out of the woods yet, I know. I know. And it’s tempting to believe that a “return to normal” is the thing our hearts truly long for. But Easter reminds us to set our sights higher: whatever comes next, the cross is behind us, and Jesus’s resurrection is finished, for our sake. The next time we see him will be his true return; he will set all things right. Easter is coming!
Easter is Coming
Tama Fortner; Wazza Pink (2019)