I need to be very clear about something as I begin this article. As my kids were growing up, they and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Rapid City’s Storybook Island. My family and I are thankful for the Rapid City Rotary Club and all the good folks who maintain the park and keep it a wonderful free place for youngsters to play.
As many of our readers know, Storybook Island has been a fixture in Rapid City since the early 60’s. It is a large park where youngsters can run and play surrounded by storybook characters like Snow White, Pinocchio, and the three little pigs. What generates a little heartburn for me is this. Nestled right in there with the seven dwarfs and the gingerbread man are Jonah and his little whale and Noah and his ark. I am not suggesting malicious intent, you understand. I just think it speaks to an issue we adults have with the Biblical narrative. It isn’t the kids who relegate Jonah to the world of elves and trolls. It is the empirical, educated, realistic, pragmatic adults. Youngsters will accept with wide-eyed amazement the account of the birth of Jesus. But somewhere along the way, we lose the wide-eyed wonder, and by early adulthood have replaced it with cynical pragmatism. So, we slowly but ever so surely push the Biblical narrative into a realm somewhere between reality and Never-Never Land. It wasn’t the youngsters who invented a chubby little elf in a flying sleigh and then attached that elf to the advent of the Christ. Nor was it the youngsters who populated the landscape of the resurrection of Jesus with magic bunnies and brightly painted eggs. We adults did that (with a little help from clever marketing firms).
So as Easter approaches, work through this little exercise. First of all, walk down the long corridors of your mind until you find that room where you keep your faith. Walk in and turn on the light. Next expel all the elves, bunnies, and drummer boys. Pick up that precious faith of yours and blow off the dust. Start with the beginning – the very beginning. Nobody believes a watch is a result of an explosion in a gear factory. The watch demands a maker who dwells outside the watch and in every way transcends it. In the same way, the amazing, wonder-filled universe in which we are but a tiny little speck demands a Maker who transcends His creation. By the way, you may believe you live in a universe where watches happen by accident. In which case, honestly, you have no room to scoff at my faith. However, if the “Watchmaker” exists out there above and apart from this universe of ours, why is it so hard to believe that from time to time He intentionally alters the trajectory of elements inside the watch (so to speak)? It isn’t childish or unenlightened to put your faith in a “Watchmaker” God who occasionally works among us in miraculous ways. Now, with that out of the way and without magic bunnies and chubby elves to get in the way, embrace the virgin-born, water-walking, leper-healing, tombstone-rolling, resurrected Jesus! Resist the temptation to make Him metaphorical or allegorical. Give Him permission to be real and everything else an illusion. As the sun rises on Easter morning, you may just find yourself staring right into the eyes of a REAL live Savior big enough to save even you.