Week 4 The Eyes of Love
(The sights in the kaleidoscope of Easter swirl amidst a myriad of colors, shapes and traditions. Of course we see bunnies and chicks, new flowers and green, eggs and lilies, pastel colored dresses and beautiful bonnets. We might even see the symbolism behind the colors, the variety of plants associated with the season, and the eggs and baby animals. Sometimes the sacred gets muted by the secular, or even gets mixed up in it so that we have trouble distinguishing the two. Perhaps the wonder of this holiday is even lost in the ordinary everyday hustle and bustle of life! Why not take the time and effort to create specialness, to make a tradition with meaning, to celebrate this holiday by observing its beauty.
Think for a moment of all the sights on that first Easter season. Where would you have looked? What would you have wanted to see? Would you have seen the miracles? Would you have witnessed the horror of the crucifixion? Would you have been able to give testimony to the compassion of one man for the world? Would you have doubted the resurrection until there was proof?
God, who is invisible, wants us to see Him. That is why he made us with eyes in our hearts and windows on our souls so we could see Him in a special way. Spiritual truths may come to us through our five senses but they may also come in the quiet and still small voice, known only to our heart and soul. Think of the things that were at the first Easter. What do you see?
High in the mountains of Bavaria, in Germany, is a small town named Oberammergau. 300 years ago a plague devastated the area, but somehow this little village escaped its horror. “By God’s Grace” declared the people who lived there; and in thanksgiving the decided to perform a play depicting the last days of Christ’s life. A monk wrote the script and a teacher in the village wrote the music. Every ten years since, this play has been performed in Oberammergau. About 700 people are involved and an audience from all over the world gathers. It will be performed next in 2020.
In Spain and Ireland people dance on Easter Sunday. They compete for a prize which is a cake decorated with flowers. Some wear white shirts with red sashes, others twirl hoops and still others jingle rows of little bells. The phrase “that takes the cake” comes from this custom.
In France and Italy church bells that normally ring joyfully are silenced on Maundy Thursday for a few days while people remember the death of Christ. On Easter Sunday the bells ring again, declaring that Jesus is alive again. Children are told that silent bells fly to Rome to see the pope and when they return they bring Easter Eggs. Some children watch for flying bells!
(Perfume) Matt. 26:6-13
(wash basin) Matt. 26:36-46, John 13:1-11
(wine & bread) Luke 22:14-20
(sword) Matt. 26:47-54
(nails/wood) Matt. 27:32-35
(Stone) Matt. 27:62-28:7
Taste: Over the many centuries since Christ’s day, people have baked symbolically and traditionally at Easter time to remind them of all that Christ did for them. In Czech Republic they serve donut twists, which they call “Judases”, to remind them of the betrayal of Our Lord. Several cultures make things in the shape of a sheep, like butter or they bake a cake in the shape of a lamb as a symbol of Jesus who is the Lamb of God (John 1:29); and in Scotland they color the cake red to remind them of His perfect sacrifice.You can make a red lamb cake too. If you don’t have a lamb mold you could cut the cake into the shape of a cross before you frost it. If you do this then perhaps you could toast some coconut so it is a wood color. You could cut it into a butterfly shape as well. Or just make red velvet cupcakes!
Listen: Invite some friends to join you and sing Easter carols or hymns for people in a nursing, retirement or convalescent home.
Look: Watch an Easter special on TV this week or rent a seasonal movie.There a quite a few choices. Invite someone over and serve red velvet cupcakes! Movies: The Robe, Ben Hur, Jesus of Nazareth, the Greatest Story ever Told, Veggie Tales, Easter Parade, Where Jesus Walked, Masada, Barabbas, Jesus Christ Superstar, Quo Vadis, The Bible, The Shoes of a Fisherman, Prince of Egypt, The Passion of the Christ, Amazing Grace, Martin Luther, The End of the Spear or my very favorite, Saving Grace!
Smell: Choose six different spices that you consider at this season. Several common in Jesus’ day include myrrh, frankincense, mint, aloes, balsam (Balm of Gilead), and spikenard, to name a few. Put each of the fragrances in a small brown bag, put your nose to the bag and try to identify the smells. Easter is a fragrant time of the year!
Touch: New Life grows during the Easter season. Buy seeds of your favorite flowers. Put the seeds in envelopes with signs of life such as the sun, flowers or newborn animals. Give these seed packets to your relatives, neighbors and friends. You could also write the plan for new life in Christ on the back of the envelope or simply include the verse John 3:16.
Do: Take a trip to Canaan in the Desert or another garden or botanical center and arboreteum. Spend time in prayer and meditation with the stations of the cross.