The Contagious Joy of Easter in our Schools

Happy Easter! From my unique perspective as a pastor to educators, almost nothing shouts “Easter!”—or better, “He is Risen!”—more than watching educators in challenging circumstances shine with joy. Easter is all about the overwhelming joy that breaks through our disappointments, grief, and pain with the reality that we are risen with Christ into eternal and abundant life. And that life starts now

Serving you is such a special privilege for us, as we regularly get to walk educators through Kingdom opportunities (often disguised as challenges) and see God glorified right in the middle of our public schools. 

Earlier this month, I helped facilitate an AWAKE Experience in Southern California for about 70 educators, some having driven several hours to attend. I saw the faces of educators beam with joy, even those—no, especially those—facing difficulties, like the following:

  • A middle school teacher who has been on the receiving end of harassment and several formal (yet frivolous) HR complaints by a LGBTQ-identifying colleague. She smiled broadly and exuded the love of Christ as we talked about how to love this colleague. She emailed me later, “I have never, in my 36 years of public school teaching, felt so uplifted at a teachers’ conference!” 
  • An elementary school teacher who is the victim of an organized campaign of angry letters from parents to her principal because she leads an after-school Good News Club and shared about her ministry on a podcast. She actually received a copy of the most hostile email during our lunch break at AWAKE! (She later confessed, “I should not have checked my email today!”) Despite the accusations against her, she praised God through tears that she is worthy to be persecuted for His name, and was asking God to help her respond with grace, truth, and love.

Both of these teachers’ circumstances remind me of the frustration expressed by Daniel’s opponents when they were trying to get him “fired” (though with a bit more severe consequence than simply losing a paycheck): 

At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God” (Daniel 6:4-5, NIV).

This Easter, may we resolve that the same would be true of us…that any opponents would find no corruption in us because we are “trustworthy, and neither corrupt nor negligent.”

But even more, my prayer for you is that the overwhelming joy of the Resurrection and His presence would flow out of your heart like a river of living water. Are you regularly experiencing that joy—a joy not based on circumstances but upon the love He lavishes upon you? While sometimes it comes upon us involuntarily, I find that more often I have to put myself in positions to receive it. 

In the stories, poetry, and directives throughout the pages of Scripture, God calls us to celebrate, worship, and remember. These practices help our minds and hearts rehearse His goodness and create space for the Holy Spirit to fill our cups to overflowing. What would it look like for an army of Christ followers to walk into our public schools with infectious and contagious joy, even in the face of difficulties? This Easter, why don’t we find out together? 

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CE Summer Bible Study

Thanks for your interest in joining us as we read through the New Testament with our fellow Christian educators this summer!