The Passion According to CJ

CJ’s only Easter book finesses the issue of Jesus’s death. The book starts with 10 pages of cartoons about how much Jesus loved little children — and apparently little lambs and bunnies, too. Then there’s one page that says “But not everyone loved Jesus” with a slightly cloudy pastoral scene where you can barely see three tiny crosses on a far hilltop. And then on the very next page an angel is standing by the mouth of the cave, with good news!

But CJ’s church childcare, which she used to call The Pooh-Bear Room, doesn’t pull any punches.

“Do you know what happened to Jesus?” she asked me last Sunday after church. “He died.”

“Because he wasn’t in Noah’s Ark?” I asked, trying to connect the passion to one of the only other Bible stories she knows.

“No, that’s not right. He died because he needed to. Because he put on an old dress and it was teared, and they gave him a glass of wine and he didn’t want to drink it.
“And they gave him a big piece of wood but it was too heavy for him and he fell and died.
“And they put him in a den and they put a stone on the end so he couldn’t get out and unfortunately he died. Because the soldiers in the book killed Jesus, and he died for real. In real life.”
She seemed genuinely sad.
She slid her chocolate milk toward me. “This is my blood, Daddy. Drink it.”
“That’s weird, Jesus,” I said.

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