Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and dismissed his spirit.
Yesterday, one of the churches I serve had a community Easter Egg Hunt. It was a great day. A special joy was taking two of our grandkids to the hunt with us. The kids enjoyed games, a craft, snacks and of course, hunting for eggs. They also each got to make a box of Resurrection Eggs.
Resurrection Eggs are an egg carton with 12 plastic eggs. Inside each egg is something that helps tell the Easter Story: a donkey, praying hands, a crown of thorns, a nail, a dice, a piece of linen, etc. The last egg is empty, representing the empty tomb the women found on Easter morning.
After the Easter Egg Hunt, Waylan, Ellie, Rick and I were in the car. Waylan was intrigued with his new birthday present (a BLUE rainbow loom). Ellie had her Resurrection Egg Carton on her lap. She went through the different pieces of the resurrection eggs, asking Grandpa what each piece represented or telling us what they stood for.
She went through her egg carton once. Then twice. A third time. Over and over, she kept going through the various pieces, wanting to make sure she had the right purpose for each time. A couple times, she’d ask Grandpa a second or third time why a particular item was in the egg carton. He’d gently remind her.
Then it got quiet. Her little voice came from the back seat. “There were some mean guys who didn’t like Jesus. And wanted him killed,” Ellie said. “But he didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t like him. And they did mean things to him.”
Waylan chimed in. “Yeah, they did something to him like spankings, only worse.”
Ellie told Waylan it was her story and she continued. “He died on a cross. There were two other mean guys who also died. They did bad stuff and they needed to die. But Jesus didn’t do back stuff.”
All from a three-year-old.
The entire purpose and need to share these stories with little people was re-enforced for me yesterday. From our granddaughter, as she sat with her egg carton of Resurrection Eggs while we drove down the road.
At the egg hunt, one of the teenaged boys found a little miniature pink bunny rabbit. He asked Ellie if she wanted it and she gladly accepted. Later in the afternoon we were in the car again. Ellie was now playing with the bunny. “Dianne, the bunny had to die,” she said. “He just had to die.” I’m not sure if the stories were getting mixed up so much as she was transferring one story to the next. I do believe she has the understanding that Jesus died and there was a reason behind his death. Not bad for a three-year-old.
Lord God – I pray the story of Jesus’ crucifixion never gets old for us. Help us to see the story with new eyes, new depth, new understanding this Holy Week. Assure us it’s OK if we don’t quite understand why everything happened or the meaning behind it. Just give us faith the size of a mustard seed and intrigue enough to keep examining this story over and over. Amen.
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