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Familiar Easter symbols remind us of our calling

by Susan Harris

I’ve been thinking about the contrasts of the seasons during this time of year.

Maybe it’s because the gray skies and cold weather of winter have given way to the blue skies and warmth of spring. From the barren tree branches, lush new growth has burst forth.

What a difference this makes in the world around us. According to a quote attributed to Martin Luther, “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every life in springtime.”

From the ugliness of the crucifixion and the tomb, the beauty of the resurrection and everlasting life springs forth. And what a difference that makes in our world and in our lives!

Having celebrated the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, the message is topical. Along with the empty cross and Easter lilies in the sanctuary, another symbol of Easter is the butterfly.

Just as the butterfly emerges from a tomb-like cocoon, we see the comparison with the resurrection of Jesus. From a caterpillar to a cocoon and finally a beautiful butterfly, we witness a miraculous transformation.

Another familiar symbol of Easter are the colorful eggs. Children look forward to Easter egg hunts held at churches and parks, without realizing the significance of the colored eggs. The eggs represent the tomb and a bird hatching signifies life. So the Easter egg serves as a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave and that those who believe will experience eternal life.

From the ugliness of the crucifixion, the beauty of the resurrection springs forth. Click To Tweet

The most significant symbol in the life of Christians is the cross. It signifies our belief that Jesus was crucified but he still lives. The cross is the focal point in church sanctuaries, on church steeples and on necklaces we wear. The cross is a universal sign of Christianity.

As Women of the ELCA, we identify with the symbol of the cross, water and a white lily as well. According to the Women of the ELCA website, this logo “identifies women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as children of God; baptized, forgiven, adopted into God’s family, full of grace and hope in eternal life. It is a reminder of the growth, beauty and vitality that rises out of that life-giving baptismal water. It is also a reminder of the mission of the church to ‘Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19).”

I hope you will continue to consider how you as an individual created in the image of God have been called and empowered.

Susan Harris is president of the North Carolina Synodical Women’s Organization and a lifelong member of Salem Lutheran Church, Lincolnton. She is married with two grown children and five grandchildren. She is retired as a court reporter for the state of North Carolina and now works that job freelance.

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Photo of empty nest (empty tomb?) | Unsplash

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