There are many symbols that speak to us of Easter that are common both in the life of the church and in popular culture.
Water and light are central to the spiritual celebration of Easter in the church and stand beside the Easter eggs and Easter bunnies that are so popular in the commercial celebration of Easter. Unfortunately for school children in a Seattle elementary school, their teacher found the idea of the Easter egg offensive and determined that they should now be called “spring spheres.” Foolishly the teacher missed the opportunity to teach students about religious tolerance and the meaning of the egg for Christians.
Christians embraced the egg symbol and likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose. Old Polish legends blended folklore and Christian beliefs and firmly attached the egg to the Easter celebration. One legend concerns the Virgin Mary. It tells of the time Mary gave eggs to the soldiers at the cross. She entreated them to be less cruel and she wept. The tears of Mary fell upon the eggs, spotting them with dots of brilliant color. Another Polish legend tells of when Mary Magdalene went to the sepulcher to anoint the body of Jesus. She had with her a basket of eggs to serve as a repast. When she arrived at the sepulcher and uncovered the eggs the pure white shells had miraculously taken on a rainbow of colors. The silliness of “spring spheres” ignores lessons to be learned from the traditions surrounding the Easter egg.
This latest incidence of politically correctness run amuck should cause us to consider whether our hearts and minds are focused upon the “spring spheres” offered by a pagan culture or upon the Risen Christ of our counter-cultural faith. Let us reject those who would demean our Christian heritage and ridicule our Catholic faith with their foolishness and folly in the name of religious intolerance.
On Easter Sunday let us truly celebrate the victory over sin and death as we embrace the mystery of the Resurrection with Easter eggs, not the silliness of spring spheres. “We are an Easter people and ‘alleluia’ is our song.” These words of St. Augustine have meaning for Christians of every era and even more so in our contemporary culture. Indeed let us sing “alleluia” from Seattle to Snug Harbor.