Good Friday. I work with kids, so last week I was trying to figure out how to tell the easter story to a bunch of 3-5 year olds in a way that they'd remember. You know kids' workers by where you find them in Wilkinsons' - leaping about in the crafts section with a gleam in their eyes and grabbing all things bright and colourful off the shelf.
"I'll have this - and this - and this! Badges? They'll come in handy. Fluffy pompom things which sprinkle glitter when you shake them? Genius. 3D make-your-own dinosaur kits? Don't mind if I do. Could DEFINITELY be made relevant to something."
For weeks before the session I was gleefully brainstorming ideas - ideas which, as time went by, became crazier and bigger and flashier by the minute.
But in the end I realised it didn't need all of that. Because Easter is simple. You don't need to add to it, or stick things on to make it look better. The gospel is bonkers. Ludicrous. Utterly whacked.
It's also raw, simple, and breathtakingly real.
So in the end, I told them a story.
I told them about the sounds of the crowd cheering in the heat of the midday sun, faces alight as they watched a middle aged man ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. I told them of a man who ate with his friends, aching because one of them was going to take him to those who wanted to kill him.
The bread and the wine.
I told them about the garden, the darkness of the sky above as his friends fell asleep one by one. I told them about the long walk to the cross, and why Jesus died.
I told them about an empty tomb. You should have seen their faces at first. Why's the tomb empty? Where did Jesus go?
And then I told them why. Why it was empty, why there was no one lying in it when his friends came to see him that Sunday morning. Why we call this day Good Friday even though it's talking about the blood and sweat and agony of a perfect man and his death. Why it's a victory and not a defeat that Jesus died on the cross.
Because he didn't stay dead. Because the Cross was on purpose. It wasn't a colossal whoopsy made by a God who had underestimated the power of a mob. It wasn't the blip that ended a career of moral teaching that would shape society and culture for centuries to come. It was so that we, who have screwed up massively, could have freedom.
He rose from the dead. The tomb was empty because he's alive. That's my freedom, the truth, the reality.
That's my joy.