"Mom, this reminds me of the Jesus bowl, like on the banners at church," he called out. "You know, Jesus is holding it with all the bad stuff and thorns and stuff."
(I love that my kids think like that, making connections from everyday, ordinary objects and events to spiritual ideas...that we can go from washing dishes to talking about how the right choices, the things God has for us, are not always what we think we want...that we can worship washing dishes.)
**We've been reading a Lenten devotional at bedtimes. A few nights ago, it included the passage about how the thorn of crowns was made, how they beat it onto Jesus's head, how he was mocked and spit on. Of course, imagining this happening to Jesus makes the children furious.
We asked the children what kind of crown they think that Jesus should have. If they could give him any kind of crown, no limits on what it was made out of or anything, what kind of crown would they make for Jesus? Oh, we had some creative ideas! The Tapper children do not lack for imagination!
(And I wondered, as I listened to them conjure up their most elaborate designs and features, how delighted God must be to hear us strive to express his worth, to communicate our adoration. Hebrews 12:2 talks about how Jesus endured the cross "for the joy set before him. I wonder if he knew--even as that crown of thorns was biting into his scalp--that, one day, Andrew and Ethan and Abby and Jadon would LOVE him so much.)
**Our at-home preschool theme of the week has been eggs. We've read some lovely books and discovered a lot of interesting information. Today, we even found a small, broken egg shell in our backyard. It is a treasured possession.
One of the things that has struck me is the diversity of eggs. When I think of eggs, anyway, I generally just envision a dozen large-sized grade A eggs, safely stored within my refrigerator. But some of our books have reminded us of the assortment of animals who get their start in life from inside an egg, of the endless variety of egg sizes, shapes, colors, textures, and of the diverse processes which are undertaken to care for different kinds of eggs.
(I love that our God is a terrifically creative God. He really could have just made all eggs white, smooth, round, and hard. But he didn't. He made the tiny, pink speckled eggs of the booted warbler and the tubular seaweed-grabbing eggs of the dogfish. He made the rubbery eggs of the green iguana and the pointy ledge-loving eggs of the murre. He made the huge and heavy egg of the ostrich and the miniscule eggs of the lobster. He made feet and soft belly of the male emperor penguin just right to hold its egg and the spider silk and tree leaves for the talented female tailorbird to sew up her egg-holding nest. And that's just a few eggs.
Mark Buchanan has said, "God's creativity is, in one sense, the most obvious thing about Him. He grandstands it, parades His crafts and wares and potions, brash and guady as a gypsy's wagon. But in another sense, God's creativity is hidden. He's elusive with it, playful, coy. Much of what He makes He tucks away, in microscopic minuteness or cosmic immensity, deep beneath us or far above us. He saves His most intricate work for the insides and undersides of things." Anyway, in studying eggs with my preschoolers, I feel like the men on the Emmaus road--like I just met my Lord again in a way I'd never thought about knowing him. And I'm pretty much them...left in awe, jaw-hanging open, head shaking, amazed and inspired.)
**Andrew reminded me of our Easter tradition. (I was impressed that he remembered.) Last year, we had an Easter egg hunt. However, hoping to skip the sugar-high and eager to provide meaningful family interactions during our first spring as a family of six, we came up with an alternative to the candy-filled eggs. On Saturday, each family member took some time to write brief notes to each of the other family members (or, in the case of the youngest, to dictate them). For the kids, most were just a sentence long, something like this: "I like it when you play cars with me" or "You are a good singer." I gathered all the notes and arranged them in plastic eggs, with all the notes for each individual family member in their own individual color of egg. For example, all the notes for Abby went into pink eggs. Mike and I did the hiding in the back yard Sunday morning, and the kids did all the finding! Then we went inside and read all the messages from our family.
It was a special way to celebrate life, love, and our many blessings. We're planning to do it again this weekend.
(How we, for real spiritual living, need the focus of a child on an egg-hunt! It really is a striking metaphor. If I would only be so focussed daily to find LIFE! I know God is not with-holding it. But it might be hiding a bit (in the "basement" of the yellow-rumped thornbill's two-story nest perhaps) while he stands by, eyes trained, brimming with the anticipation of our moment of discovery of all he's offering. My aspiration: Go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage...do good...be rich in helping others...be extravagantly generous. If [you] do that, [you'll] build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. --1 Timothy 6:17 MSG)