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Take the egg

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But to as many as received him he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12).

The first blood red moon has passed without any apparent great incident. We have three more to look forward to in the next two years, as well as a total solar eclipse. But have you heard about the blood red egg? If you come from an Eastern Orthodox background you probably can’t think about Easter without thinking about the red egg. Most of us in the West have never heard of it.

Tradition tells the story of Mary Magdalene gaining an audience with the Emperor Tiberius in Rome. She gave Tiberius two items. The first was a proclamation that many of us associate with Easter. She told him, “Christ has risen!” The other item was a red egg.

The tradition behind the tradition is a story about the first Easter. According to the legend, a man in Jerusalem was heading to market with a basket of eggs when a friend stopped him and asked if he had heard the news. The friend told the man that Jesus of Nazareth had risen from the dead and had appeared to a number of people. In response to the news, the man said, “That is as impossible as all my eggs turning red.” Suddenly, all the eggs in his basket turned blood red. For almost two thousand years, Orthodox Christians have included the giving of the red egg in their Easter celebrations.

There are a number of different explanations for the symbolism of the egg. Sunday, I am going to speak about three spiritual realities the egg symbolizes that God offers as gifts because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The red color of the egg is a symbol of the death of Christ. By his death, God now offers us the gift of redemption. The word means that someone else has paid the price to cover the cost of our sin. Jesus paid the price for us on the cross. He offers redemption as a gift. It is as if he is holding out the egg to each of us. Take the egg!

The egg also symbolizes regeneration. This Easter egg can’t be hard-boiled. It would kill the life inside. The egg must incubate, and at the perfect time, a baby chick will emerge. The new life we are offered because of Jesus’ death and resurrection is called regeneration. It is a new life that comes from a new birth. That birth occurs when we receive the new life Christ offers. It is a gift. The egg is a symbol of that gift being offered to each of us. Take the egg!

Finally, the egg is a symbol of reconciliation. Through the death of Jesus, we can now be reconciled to God. Once alienated, through Jesus we can have a love relationship with God. Think of the egg as a symbol of that gift of reconciliation being offered to you. Take the egg!

This is my new Easter motto. Along with the classic paschal greeting: “Christ is risen!” I now will add…”Take the egg!”

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