Week 3 The Voice of Love
Easter time is filled with joyous sounds of celebration and life: lambs bleating, choirs singing, the crack of a baseball bat, rain against windowpanes, birds chirping, someone sharing the gospel and so much more! Let your imagination hear!
The kaleidoscope of events surrounding Christ’s death and resurrection was accompanied by many different sounds. Most of us think of them as unpleasant and yet together they form a chorus that shouts praises of victory (1 Cor. 15:54-57): the shouts, both hosanna and crucify; the kiss of deceit; the nails; the rooster crowing; tears mingled with sobs and cries; thunder; the rumbling of the earth; ministering angels; Christ’s words; ripping of the veil; the whips; spitting. Close your eyes and listen for other sounds. How do they make you feel?
Of course the loveliest sound of all is the sound of God’s voice. He wants us to hear Him and provides many ways, if we will listen. God has messages in His Word, the Bible, which He wrote to tell us how to live, to shout clearly of His love for us and to be a record of His faithfulness. He also speaks to us through people like our Christian friends and family. The Lord communicates with us through nature. Can you hear Him? Prayer is the conversation of God and His children; “take joy, O King, in what you hear. may it be a sweet sound in your ear” And the response: “I love you Father… and I pray that I always will obey your still and tender voice.” How do your respond?To him who has ears, let him hear.
Psalm 19:1-4 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
There are many things that remind us of Easter; they are symbols. Flowers, trees, birds and animals. People for centuries have seen Jesus and His resurrection throughout nature, God’s creation. Here are a few:
- On the day that Jesus died, it is said that a swallow hovered over the cross, slowly beating her wings and crying, “Console!”, “Console!” The return of the swallows every spring is a reminder of the return of our Lord one day.
- The robin came flying over Calvary on the first Good Friday. He saw Jesus with the thorns on His brow and saw that the skin had been pierced. He swooped down to pluck the thorn with his beak and a drop of blood stained the bird’s breast. His song is one of hope, “Cheer Up!”
- The butterfly is a creature whose life cycle is symbolic of the meaning of Christianity. The caterpillar stands for life; the cocoon signifies death; the emergence of the butterfly from the cocoon’s shell portray’s the resurrection.
- The donkey,humblest of all beasts, was chosen to carry Christ into the world, to carry Him triumphantly into Jerusalem and eventually to His glorious death and resurrection. There is a dark patch of hair that goes the length of his back and crosses his shoulders, forming a cross as a reminder of the most important burden ever carried.
- The Easter lily is a beautiful flower which grows from a lifeless looking bulb. The growth of the tall white flower reminds Christians of the way that Jesus Christ came back to life. The flower is shaped like a trumpet and it blows a triumphant welcome to life and victory over the grace.
- The sand dollar, also known as the Holy Ghost shell, has distinctive marks representing the life of Christ on the top side of the shell as an outline of the lily and in the center is a 5 pointed star, representing the Star of Bethlehem. The five narrow slits represent the 4 nail holes and the spear wound in the body of Christ at the crucifixion. On the bottom of the shell is the outline of a poinsettia and the bell. When broken the inside reveals 5 little birds called doves of peace and some claim they also represent 5 angels who sang to the shepherds on the first Christmas eve.
- The lamb is one of the most familiar and important symbols of the season, with perhaps the exception of the cross. The symbol for Easter is a lamb carrying a banner with a red cross imprinted on it. Jesus is referred to as the sacrificial lamb who gave His life to take away the sin of the world. The book of Revelation uses the word Lamb to speak of Jesus throughout its pages. The Passover Lamb from the Old Testament is a type of Christ. In some countries it is an Easter custom to wear silver or gold lambs on chains.
- The legend of the dogwood has it that at the time of the crucifixion this tree was comparable to an oak tree. Because of its firmness and strength it was selected as the timber for the cross, which greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this the crucified Lord said to it, “because of your sorrow and pity for my suffering never again will the dogwood grow large enough for a cross. from now on it will be slender, bent and twisted, and its blossoms will be in the form of a cross, with 2 long and 2 short petals.” In the center of each petal edge is a nail print, stained red, and at the center of each flower is a crown of thorns. All who see it can remember.
- There are so many symbols that there is not enough space to elaborate. You may want to research more of them on your own or look for others not listed. I have deliberately left the rabbit out of most discussion in this book. It is the only traditional symbol for the season that I discovered has NO christian root or meaning. It is entirely pagan.
- Animal World: pelican, peacock, eagle, owl, goldfinch, dove, cock/rooster, lion, whale, pikefish, the crossbill.
- Plant World: hawthorn, bayberry, bramble, crown of thorns, wild rose, acacia, crocus, passionflower, lily of the valley, grape veins, pomegranate, resurrection plant, orchid, redbud tree, cyclamen, wheat, palm, cedar, olive tree, larkspur, pussywillow, daffodil, wild tulip, hibiscus, rose of sharon, the weeping willow, fig tree, sorghum, durra, a variety of herbs including hyssop, marjoram, myrrh, aloes, sweet flag, spikenard, saffron, mustard, cassia, dill, mint, balm of gilead
Words from the Cross:
- Mon – forgiveness Luke 23:33,34
- Tues – assurance Luke 23:42,43
- Wed- Comfort John 19:26,27
- Thurs.- desolation Mark 15:33,34
- Fri – suffering & triumph John 19:28-30
- Sat – committal Luke 23:44-46
Taste: Try a special cookie like Easter nest cookies.
1 small can sweetened condensed milk// 1/2 C sifted cocoa / / 1 large bag shredded coconut // Easter M&Ms or jelly bellys
- In a bowl mix cocoa with the milk
- add the coconut until there is no milk left in the bottom
- mound by teaspoonful onto a greased or parchement papered cookie sheet
- with a forefinger, push the center of each cookie to form a dish in the nests.
- Fill with 3 small candies
- Bake at 350 for 15 min
Listen: Listen to some Easter worship music and even sing along. There are many hymns and choruses that help us celebrate this season as we praise the King with our mouths.
Look: The colors of Easter and springtime have meaning. White symbolizes purity and joy. Yellow is the color of the sun dawning on resurrection morning. Green is the reminder of the newness of life (2 Cor. 5:17). Red (pink) reminds us of the Savior’s shed blood. Purple is the color of kings and royalty and reminds us that Jesus is the King of Kings! Remember these colors and their meaning as you choose an Easter outfit!
Smell: Lent is the time to clean out our lives of the things that clutter and are dirty. Make some bubble bath or decorate a bar of soap to symbolize this. After use, savor some of the aroma of being squeaky clean!
Touch: When the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine, ruled it was the custom to walk through the countryside in the spring. He asked the people to wear their best clothes to honor Jesus. Further, Easter became a time for baptisms and the new believers wore white robes. A new outfit symbolizes the putting away of winter, the putting off of the old (Eph. 4 :22-24), and the dressing up off the earth with new life, and the new man with new clothes. It is also a symbol of Christ’s bursting forth from the tomb clothed in new life! From these traditions many people like to wear something new on Easter. Go out and buy, or make, something new to wear for Resurrection Sunday. however small or insignificant the bit of apparel may be, it must be something new and special that is worn, even a pair of shoelaces, a bit of ribbon, underwear or a tie or jewelry. It is believed that those who did not heed this custom would be appropriately marked by the birds!
Do: Try one of the following games…..