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Teaching the Unknowable

April 25, 2019

Christ is Risen!  Over the past days and weeks, our clergy have been teaching us the fundamental story of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again, and through His sacrifice, we are too promised new life.  This is an astonishing and incredible story, one that defies intellectual apprehension alone.

Trinity church school teachers and youth mentors have what could be considered the daunting task of teaching this incomprehensible mystery of our faith. Here, they share with all of us their wisdom—some practical, some profound—on the meaning of Easter.

Even with 3-year-olds, I believe you have to tell the whole story or you're committing educational malpractice: Jesus was killed, he really died, and in ways we are still trying to comprehend and always will, he came back to life again, and his resurrection changed the world, and us, forever.

With the Cherubs (3-4 year olds), you just have to keep it simple and developmentally appropriate. I always try to give a roadmap: We've been reading all these stories about Jesus' life and all the amazing things he did and said. This is going to sound like the most awful, sad, scary story you ever heard ... but stay with this story all the way, OK? Because it is going to have the most happy, amazing ending you can ever imagine, I promise! And if it doesn't all make sense—don't worry, lots of adults are still trying to figure it all out, too.

The more I tell that story, the more I realize: That is what Easter means to me. It's the story of the life, death, and new life of the greatest man we can ever know, God's gift to us, a story that is mystery, transformation, and invitation to us as Christians to embrace our place in Jesus' resurrection and to have our lives transformed forever.

Peter J. Howe, Church School Teacher


For me, Easter is all about joy. The deep reflection and introspection that comes with Lent is spring cleaning. Easter is celebrating the new season. You can't have one without the other.

Robby Bitting, Youth Mentor


…more and more I am struck by the depths of the Paschal mystery. Jesus was born a human and died as one on the cross. These are things which are comprehensible to us. What is remarkable--what is really and truly unknowable--is the resurrection. There is no way for us to see for ourselves how death has been conquered, or to comprehend it as we comprehend the things of this world.

Easter forces us into faith with its sheer absurdity. It takes us beyond the outer limits. And yet there is a profound longing for it within the human heart, so that when we believe its central message, we do something more than take a kind of intellectual risk. When we peer into the empty tomb, we discover the final answer to the crisis of human experience.

Karen Ellestad, Youth Mentor


For me, Easter has all the meaning we typically ascribe to it: new life, the fulfillment of our hopes in Jesus, exuberant anthems with full brass accompaniment, the smell of lilies filling the church. But as someone who spends a significant amount of time working on church projects, and who is also married to a church musician, Easter also means something far more practical to me: the finish line. I liken it to the feeling you get after throwing a big party. You spend weeks--maybe months--planning, organizing, and thinking through the details, and then the event arrives, and it is glorious! You are so glad it has happened! You feel energized, gratified, filled with love, and you can't wait to do it again! And you also really need a nap. 

Jesi Dunaway Nishibun, Youth Mentor

Happy Eastertide!


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