Written on the Heart
I was saddened recently to hear of the death of Fred Craddock, a renowned preacher and teacher from whom I once had the privilege of learning a bit of wisdom. Rev. Craddock was a master story-teller and someone who revolutionized the art of preaching and influenced entire generations that have followed him in the pulpits of this nation. Since his death, I've gone back to read some of his sermons that have been published, and I can still hear his voice speaking those masterful words.
In reading his words, I am convicted of two things. First, I am reminded of the awesome power of mere words and their ability to inspire, to motivate, to comfort, and to cut to the heart. No wonder it is that God could create our world through speaking just a few words. Second, I realize that I do not read nearly enough Scripture. In Rev. Craddock's sermons, the words of Scripture are not just the basis of his sermons from which he draws points; they are the very words of his sermons. Scripture is so deeply rooted in his way of thinking and of speaking that the images and phrases of the Bible seem to flow naturally from his mouth. How much he must have read before his mind and tongue were molded to the words he read! You find the same thing in the writings of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. His language was not just English but also the language of the Bible - its images, its thoughts, its phrases, its very essence. For both men, Scripture was much more than simply something to be quoted by chapter and verse as deemed applicable. The words of the Bible had become something written onto their hearts and indeed as much of a part of who they were as anything else in their lives. I wonder if that is not even more of the point of our reading the Bible than studying and trying to discern its life application today. How much is Scripture a part of who we are? How much has it shaped and formed how we speak, how we think, how we act, who we are at our core? For myself, I can say that I need read more Scripture simply for the sake of the joy of reading it.
Blessings on the journey,
Faith Facts: Why Easter Eggs?
Why do we color eggs for Easter? First of all, boiled eggs likely came to be a part of Easter traditions because of fasting during the season of Lent. Rich foods, like eggs, dairy, and sugar, were commonly given up as a part of the fast. For this reason, all the eggs, butter, and sugar were used up before the season started to keep them from spoiling. This led to the celebration of Shrove or Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) before Ash Wednesday with foods like pancakes. During the season of Lent, of course, chickens would continue to lay eggs. To keep them from spoiling before the fast ended at Easter, the eggs were boiled. With several weeks' worth to use up, boiled eggs became a staple for many dishes served around Easter time.
In the early church, these eggs were often dyed red to symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross. Legends grew up around this tradition. In one, Mary Magdalene had a basket of boiled eggs for the women to eat on Easter morning as they went to Jesus' tomb. As they came close, the eggs miraculously turned red. In another, Mary Magdalene visited the Roman emperor years later to share the message of Jesus' Resurrection. She had in her hand an egg. The emperor, always a skeptic, said, "Christ is no more risen than that egg is red." At that moment, the egg turned red. While they are likely no more than legends, these stories connect our tradition of coloring eggs to the great truth of Easter: Jesus Christ is risen - what a beautiful and miraculous sight!
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