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The color of Easter

The Life Less Traveled

March 27, 2013
To this day, every time I smell the pungent odor of vinegar I think of Easter. When I was a kid, I loved stuffing my face with chocolate bunnies and Peeps. I loved finding toys in my Easter basket and going on Easter egg hunts. But, even more than all of this, I loved the process of coloring the eggs.

I felt like a mad scientist setting up glasses across the kitchen table, filling them with water and vinegar and dropping in the mysterious tablets of dye. The instant they hit the liquid, they began to fizz, filling the concoction with bubbling color. Every time I dropped one in I wanted to scream, "It's alive! It's alive!"

Then came the eggs, the pristine, white, boiled eggs. Scooping each one up in the wire dipper was an art in itself. You had to carefully balance the egg so you didn't drop it and crack it open. But, eventually, all of that hard work paid off as I dipped the egg into the dye. It was time for the transformation to begin.

The waiting was unbearable. I constantly checked them, dropped them back in and checked them over and over again. They couldn't change fast enough for me, even though I knew it was just a matter of time. I knew the longer I left the egg submerged, the deeper the color would intensify.

But the waiting almost killed me. It still does.

As an adult, Easter is still about transformation for me. Like those eggs of my childhood, the longer I stay immersed in the love of my God, the more I see my colors change. But some days the waiting almost kills me. The change never comes fast enough.

God once told His people that even though their sins were as dark as scarlet, He could make them white as snow. On that good Friday before the first Easter morning, God did just that.

In Jesus, God mixed the perfect concoction of divinity, humanity and sacrifice. He was God in the flesh who had come to die. He was someone who could fully understand our frailty and our flaws but had all the power of heaven to actually do something about it.

As we follow Him, new life bubbles up from within us like the colorful effervescence escaping from a tablet of dye. Some days that new life flows faster than others.

When I grow impatient with myself, I have to stop and remember how different I am from the day I first experienced God's grace. I have to remember that God didn't save me because I was good but because He is.

The same is still true today.

In that, I rediscover the hope of Easter, that some things have to die before they can live and, whether you're talking about eggs or people, the dyeing process just takes a little time.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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