APRIL 21 – EASTER SUNDAY

A MOMENT FOR MISSION

"For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind." —Isaiah 65:17, NRSV

Today, Easter Sunday, Christians worldwide gather to celebrate Christ's resurrection. Along with special music and sunrise services, many congregations offer Easter egg hunts for their youngest participants.

In 2014, United Methodist Communications engaged "experts," ages 5 to 10, as well as the Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton, to talk about the traditions of the Easter egg—from hunting eggs, to coloring them, to the egg as a symbol of new life.

Easter "is not an easy story for adults," Norton acknowledged, "and thus it makes it not an easy story for children. They don't have to have the dramatic aspects of it to appreciate the fact that Jesus died, Jesus was buried, Jesus arose and lives again.

"With so many Easter traditions, we look at [eggs] from the eyes of faith and say, 'Wow! There's something about going to hunt the eggs just as we might go to hunt for Jesus in the tomb.'"

As one of the young interviewees—Cadence, 5—observed, "He wasn't there. It's magic."

According to Norton, "In some of the early church traditions, people brought their eggs to the church to be blessed before they ate them, as the first joyful food of Easter."

Early civilizations used the egg to talk about the forming of the world. "It was adopted by the Christian faith," Norton said, "so that it became a symbol of the new life we receive in Christ."

What a reason to rejoice! Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!

—Adapted from "The Importance of the Egg: Children and Easter," United Methodist Communications, 2014

OFFERTORY PRAYER
Loving God, the prophet Isaiah envisioned "new heavens and a new earth." Thank you for Jesus, who in his life, death and resurrection, offers us new hope. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Easter Sunday — Mighty God of Resurrection Power: You offer us life that overcomes death, light that overcomes darkness, hope that overcomes our deepest despair! What could we possibly offer in return? Our tithes and gifts, yes; but our minds, hearts, and bodies, as well. May our minds be about understanding who you are and who you long for us to be in this world. May our hearts overflow with your love and compassion for the poor, the oppressed, and the forgotten. May our bodies carry us out of the tombs of isolation to engage our neighbors as sisters and brothers. May the "Alleluias!" we offer leave this place with us to bring hope to everyone we meet! In the Risen Christ, we pray. Amen. (John 20:1-18)

NEWSLETTER NUGGET
What is your favorite Easter memory? Growing up in Iowa, I remember bundling up in a parka and wrapping myself like a burrito for a freezing sunrise service, followed by a toasty-warm breakfast at the church.

Then my family headed home to hunt for Easter baskets, ignoring parental admonitions not to eat all of the candy at once, and donning sparkly, new clothes. Of course, as my black-and-white photos attest, the parka next went over a spring dress, made even fancier by a stiff crinoline slip!

Then back to church we went for a traditional worship service. To this day, Easter isn't Easter without congregational singing of "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today." Special choir music accompanied by trumpets, the Gospel account of the Resurrection and Holy Communion made the service even more meaningful.

Take time to recall your Easter memories. Then give thanks for God's gift of Jesus Christ, who promises new life for all who believe in him.

—Barbara Dunlap-Berg