Easter Egg Surprise
“And Mary Magdalene and the others went out and fled
from the tomb for astonishment had seized them.”
Around Easter when my daughter was 9 years old she asked me, “Dad, are you going to do that empty egg surprise again for children’s time?” I smiled. She had seen it before. My daughter actually liked the talk but you can imagine from her statement that the surprise had been lost over the years.
The Easter egg children’s time was simple: I held 6 eggs when I called the children forward during Sunday service. I would then ask them to guess, one at a time whether an egg was boiled, or raw. Then we would crack the egg and find out! The third egg would be the trick. The children would guess, I would crack the egg, and, voila, it would be empty.
“That was a surprise wasn’t it?” I would state. “We weren’t expecting that. And the surprise in our Easter story today is even bigger. Jesus’s friends expected to find Jesus in the tomb but he was gone, alive, not dead, not in the tomb . . .big surprise.”
Well, you can imagine, by 9 years old my daughter, who had seen the empty egg when I was pastor at Howard Lake, then pastor at Belle Plaine, then 2 or 3 years at Oliver, could no longer be shocked when an egg was cracked. Hard boiled, raw, and even empty. She had seen it.
“I suppose I could do something different,” I said to Madeleine.
“No, I like it. I just wanted to watch when you empty the eggs.”
“But, it is hard for me to surprise you,” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ve seen it.”
Well, I have done that boiled or raw, egg surprise, children’s talk several more Easters over the years. It is a fun little talk, especially when there is a child or two who hasn’t seen it before. I like the surprise.
I like the surprise part of the resurrection story as well; Easter is about the surprise of an empty tomb. Or, more precisely, the glory of the empty tomb.
But, it is hard for us to be as surprised as Mary Magdalene on the first Easter. We have heard the story before.
Yet, this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the idea of Mary Magdalene’s puzzlement. I get it. And I can still fully enjoy the meaning behind her surprise. “Lord, I’ve heard the story before and I still like it!” The story that I am forgiven, that there is new life in Christ’s resurrection, that I live in peace with God because of the empty tomb. Well, I might not be surprised, but the empty tomb brings peace to me. Amazing! It is well with my soul. I will never become hard-boiled in hearing that meaning in the Easter story over again.
It would be hard for me to act surprised each Easter morn when hearing that Jesus is alive. I still, however, am amazed, and enjoy greatly hearing that the tomb was empty. Thanks be to God.
Bruce Hillyer, Associate Pastor