Easter Eggs, Wasp Nests, and a Big Ol’ Cow Skull
Life was good if you were a first grader yesterday. You should have been there. I walked outside and heard “There he is!” “Mr. Warmouth!” “There he is!” I looked up in time to see an excited bunch of little munchkins headed my way. The air was filled with excitement and one of them was carrying a white plastic trash bag. ” There is no telling what’s in that bag” I thought. It didn’t take long to find out. They had me sit down at one of the patio tables and they all gathered around. Little hands went into the bag and a huge, white, sun bleached cow skull emerged. Robert had found it on his farm and brought it to school, but at the moment there seemed to be communal ownership of the thing. They held it up and turned it over and over, pointing out to me the eye holes, the brain cavity, and informing me of many other interesting facts that had been relayed to them by Mrs. York. Then they showed me something very interesting, and a bit frightening. The tone got more serious, and in an almost dramatic way they pointed to a cavity where the brain stem had been. There, lurking in the deep, dark recesses of weathered bone was a sizable wasp nest. Their eyes met mine as they waited for my reaction.”Yikes,” I said. “It’s a good thing there were no wasps in there when Robert picked this up.” Their little heads nodded in agreement. Then they remembered something else! When Robert got to school he was surprised to find that there was an Easter egg in the skull. We reveled in the mystery of such a thing and while there was still much reveling I excused myself to complete the task I had set out to do.
It was only later that I began to reflect on the event and think “there is an Easter story in there somewhere.” Indeed there was. The skull, as we all know, is a somewhat universal symbol of death. The wasp nest made me think of the sting of death, and the Easter egg is often thought of as a symbol of new life and resurrection. There is nothing especially philosophical here, I know, but it you have to admit that the three things seem to fit perfectly – both figuratively and literally. The children’s excitement and seriousness even helps to paint a picture of this special religious weekend.
Tomorrow is good Friday. A solemn day when death celebrated its most painful sting. I hope that we will observe this day with a reverent attitude and be mindful of Christ’s suffering. I’m sure that during the day tomorrow I will see in my mind the faces of those little first graders contemplating that sinister wasp nest. One of the verses that helps me to maintain a proper perspective on this day is Matthew 26:39 “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” If you do not have a place to worship tomorrow night, I’d like to invite you to the Service of Lessons and Psalms at 6:00 PM at Trinity PCA. The service is always a beautiful one that helps us to prepare our hearts and minds for this sacred weekend.
While tomorrow is solemn, Sunday is a different story! Easter Sunday is the best day of the year! Attend your church with a sense of victory in Christ! Celebrate it with gusto! Be reminded of the mystery and excitement of finding an Easter egg in a cow skull – or anywhere for that matter. Make it a GREAT day for your children. One that is filled with great stories of abundant life, salty boiled eggs, rich milk chocolate, baskets filled with green grass, brightly colored candy, and other symbols of spring and new life, and whatever other traditions your family has to mark this day as one that deserves to be set apart. Cow skulls, wasp nests, and all.
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?