This is the week of my annual Easter Egg dying party. As soon as we had children, I wanted to recapture my fond memories of dying Easter eggs at Grandma and Grandpa Sharp’s house. I never liked Easter egg hunts, mostly because I couldn’t see well and everybody got to the eggs before I could get close enough to see them. I have fond memories however, of dying eggs with my grandparents. Grandma would mix the dyes and scold Grandpa to come help the children dye eggs, “We have to do this. We always do this, yada yada, fuss, fuss.” Grandpa would grumble, but as he sat down next to me, I would catch his characteristic closed mouth grin that communicated he was enjoying himself.
My parents lived too far away to continue the grandparent tradition but that wasn’t going to stop me. As soon as my girls could sit at a table, I introduced the time honored tradtion. However, there are only so many eggs preschoolers can dye and so many eggs a family can eat. The next year, we invited the children of the Methodist minister to dye eggs with us.
The next year, I decided to turn it into an outreach party. And so the famous Wingate egg parties were born. Each year, we tried to invite different people. One year, I invited my Sunday school class of 5th and 6th graders. Price of admission: one dozen hard boiled eggs and one friend. Another year, I invited my seventeen piano students. Half of them were from churched families; the other half were not. I asked a few leading questions about why we dye eggs before Easter, and my churched kids were off and running in telling the Resurrection story. Yet another year, we made a cake in the shape of a cross/ I simply asked, “Why the cross?” Again, those that knew were eager to tell.
I feared my girls and their friends would outgrow the Easter egg dying tradition; instead, they have become more creative. They’ve drawn Resurrection messages on the eggs with white crayons before dipping them in the dye. They learned how to blow out raw eggs then paint the shells with acrylic paint. We keep saying we’re going to dye eggs one year using natural dyes like tea and red cabbage. This year, we’re going to wet the eggs, then wrap them in different colors of tissue paper. When the eggs dry, we’ll peel off the tissue, to reveal beautiful colors. Some of the girls’ high school friends eagerly accept their invitation each year, saying, “That was so fun last year.”
We pray as we invite friends and we leave ourselves open for divine opportunities. They always come. One year, one girl burst into tears when my husband took pictures, crying, “I hate having my picture taken. I’m so fat and ugly!” I took her aside and discovered a world of hurt and lack of confidence from a horribly low self image. I was able to share with her about One who made her and accepted her as she was.
This year, we decided to invite the high school Sunday School class I teach and the younger Sunday class, the third through fifth graders. When I told my youngest daughter, now a junior in high school, she said, “That’s a great idea, Mom. That way, when I go off to college, you’ll have a group in the making so you can keep having your Easter egg parties.” With a bit of sadness, I realized an era was coming to an end, yet Christine was right. Even without my own children, I can keep telling the wonders of the Resurrection story through Easter eggs.
It almost seems too easy, too fun. I get to share Jesus and my love for him while doing an activity I absolutely love to do and I get to be around people I love to be with – children and teenagers. But maybe that’s what Jesus meant in Matthew 28:19. The Greek word for “Go” actually means, ‘As you go.” As we go about our daily lives, doing what we do, using the gifts God has given, Jesus asked us to make disciples. Whether it’s dying Easter eggs, participating in a softball team, or being part of a band, we’re to be Christ’s representative, building relationships and showing Jesus has made a difference in our lives. Sounds like a great idea to me!