Happy Easter, Little Peeps!
Happy Easter, Little Peeps!
Easter is a time of religious festivals, and is also a celebration of spring…new life coming from old forms that once seemed incapable of bearing a beating heart. Little chicks peep out of perfectly cylindrical egg structures, somehow pecking their way into freedom so they can hop hop hop and peep peep peep new joy into the world. Easter and spring represent the ultimate “SURPRISE” of Life—Jesus comes back from the grave, and cute little chicks abound.
Speaking of baby birds, I’ve been thinking of feathers a lot these days. I have a white quill sitting on my desk as I peck away at my keyboard. My niece and her family just returned from Egypt, and sent back photos of the Temples of Kim Ombo and Edfu, which I have studied with great interest. In Egyptian lore after a person died their heart was weighed against that of a feather. If the heart was heavier than the feather on the scale, that person did not get to pass through to the next life.
I smiled to learn that the goddess who decided that passage was part woman, part crocodile. Her body was definitely female, but her head was a crocodile. The ultimate Easter bonnet. (Wouldn’t that get a rise in some churches.) In so many of the Egyptian hieroglyphics the gods have human bodies with animal heads, cats and falcons also being favorites. Yet in Greek mythology the gods often had human heads with animal bodies, the Minotaur being one of my personal favorites. There seemed to be some kind of evolutionary thinking that we needed a mixture of both human and animal to represent the mystery of the divine.
Continuing on this theme of mixed metaphors for the gods, my friend Linda sent me a well written article called “A Funeral for My Christianity” by John Pavlovitz. She wrote in the headline: “So Sad.” The well written article details the disillusion of the author, who discovers that so many of his “Christian friends” no longer seem to believe in the Jesus he believes in. I read the article and then promptly texted back to her. “Lucky for us, we know that Jesus was not a Christian.”
A recent Popular Science article written by Ella Weaver details how cuckoo finches have mastered the trick of laying eggs that nearly perfectly resemble the eggs of a different species, in this case the red faced cisticola. By mimicking the speckles and patterns of the red faced cisticola eggs, the cuckoo finches “do not have to expend the energy to hatch an egg or care for the young.” Imagine the nesting bird’s surprise when she hatches not a brood of cisticolas, but of cuckoos. Red faced, indeed!
I think about the mimicry implicit in just the term “Christian” for example. Anyone can claim it, use it, t-shirt and bumper sticker it, and drive it all around the town, claiming to be the True Tribe.
Jesus anticipated this, warning that he himself often didn’t know or recognize people who used his name for their own purposes. It’s not what they say, but what they do which determines their true colors. He also talked about us looking at the lilies of the fields, and to the sparrows, if we wanted to know the true heart of God.
So I ask you Dear Reader, which nest are you hatching, and who really laid the eggs in your basket? Are these eggs really your own, or where they dropped in when you were distracted, by some cuckoo who has no desire to take the time or energy required to raise something to term. Being a Christ follower isn’t about exterior speckles, after all. It takes energy, and thought, and time.
And the larger question, perhaps the largest of all, is the same one asked by people who lived thousands of years before Christ was born.
How does your heart compare to a feather when it comes to knowing God?
On this day, this greatest of Easter Days,
Jesus said “Ta Dah!” as he lifted himself lightly from this world, and taught us how to fly.
Amen, and Hallelujah.
Christ is Risen, Indeed!