Redeeming Resurrection Eggs
A Fresh Alternative
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There are some ideas that are perfect and wonderful in their conception but terrible in their execution. For me, the different variations of “Resurrection Eggs” floating around are examples of this. The idea is great — use twelve plastic Easter eggs, fill them with tiny symbols of the Easter story and open them, one at a time, to tell the story.
There are many versions of these out there. Some are homemade and some can be purchased commercially.
My problem with these is not with the concept; it’s the execution. (No pun intended.) The idea is great — use a symbol of Easter that everyone has and understands (eggs) and use them to tell the story. It’s clever. It’s easy to implement. It’s fun.
The problem with the traditional/popular Resurrection Eggs is a big one: the symbols used focus unnecessarily on the torture and execution of Jesus. Telling the story in this way is problematic for a lot of reasons. First, it puts undue weight and emphasis on the violent details of the story. These details are in the Bible. I am not advocating that we sanitize the story or take them out in all circumstances, but putting them all in tiny eggs in order to tell the story to children is not an appropriate place or use for these symbols. (Seriously, the versions of Resurrection Eggs I’ve seen are almost comically inappropriate for small children when you think about it “look, children, here’s a tiny crown of thorns! Here’s a tiny whip! Here are some tiny nails!”) It’s dark humor, though, because the truth is, it’s not funny at all. I used traditional Resurrection Eggs with children in my congregation years ago and I saw the confusion and sadness on their faces. I vowed to think about this more and try to understand who thought this was appropriate and why.
The reason we focus so much on the violent details is that our atonement theology requires it and makes it necessary. For more on this, please see what I’ve written HERE and HERE.
When Chalice Press and I talked about publishing Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection I was immediately full of excitement and hope. Here was my chance to publish activities for families and churches to use at home to teach the story of Jesus through simple activities that were not only developmentally and age-appropriate, but also free of some of the pitfalls of teaching substitutionary atonement as the strict and only way to understand the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. I knew I wanted to include a new and healthier way to do Resurrection Eggs. I made it a whole chapter. Chapter six includes 12 symbols. Four for Christ’s life, four for his death, and four for his resurrection. Each symbol has a scripture explaining the symbol, a short explanation, and a faith practice to go with it.
Here are the symbols I chose (along with the corresponding scriptures) for you to make your own resurrection eggs and write your own stories, should you choose to create your own set. I’m also including the icons, both as a single sheet, and also individually, for you to use with your congregations.
Resurrection Eggs: Redeemed and Redone!
Four Symbols of Jesus’ Life
- Water – Matthew 3:16-17
- Bread – John 6:35
- Towel – John 13: 4-5
- Fish – Luke 5:4-6
Four Symbols of Jesus’ Death
- Candle – Luke 23:44-46
- Spices – John 19:39
- Linen Cloth – John 19:40
- Rock – Matthew 27: 59-60
Four Symbols of Jesus’ Resurrection
- Sunrise – Mark 16:2
- Garden – John 20:11-18
- Jesus’ Head Cloth – John 20: 6-7
- Empty Tomb – Luke 24: 2-3
Click the above link (ResurrectionEggsIcons_2) to download all 12 of the Resurrection Egg Icons. They will download directly to your computer in a zip file. To get scriptures and stories to go with them, see chapter 6 of Faithful Families for Lent, Easter and Resurrection