Our theme for 2019 is “The Body.” Today we are exploring that theme with the blog…..
The Body at an Unexpected Egg Hunt
Charles Conkin is the Associate Pastor of Central Baptist Church. Charles has been a part of the pastoral staff since 2013. He brings a fresh perspective to the issues of many progressive Baptist congregations. Charles finished his Master of Divinity degree from Truett Seminary at Baylor University in 2008.
As an associate pastor there is a clause at the end of my job description that states, “Other duties as needed.” Yes. It is a catch all for the events and responsibilities that no one else wants to do. Many find these words daunting but I have grown to love them. They bring new challenges, variety to monotony of ministry, and best of all, interactions with people I would otherwise not meet.
Last April, I found myself days before Easter Sunday, scrambling to organize an egg hunt for the families of the church I serve. While I do care for our families, I do not like egg hunts. As it fell under the “other duties” clause, I began to organize eggs getting stuffed, volunteers to bring food, hide eggs, and a location of a local park to meet.
After an already busy holy week and a full Easter to come, we assembled in a park blocks from the church on a windy Saturday morning. The youth group attended to help hide scatter the thousand eggs and assist the smaller children in the hunt.
I began handing out bags and lining up the children for a dramatic start when a parent interrupted me. She had started a conversation with a group of women and children looking puzzled at our behavior. They were a collection of refugee families from Syria and Iraq. Some have lived in the country for a few years and others only months. All of them had children and a free morning to join in the hunt.
I as handed these new children a bag for collecting eggs, a mother asked if they this was only for children or could the mothers join the fun. So, dressed in their traditional Islamic clothing and hijabs they ran around the field, looking in trees, lifting bushes, finding Easter eggs. A heartwarming and a very entertaining sight to see. Two cultures. Two religions. In some ways worlds apart. But we found ourselves and we found friendship at a park hunting Easter eggs.
As I witnessed the joy of Baptists and Muslims running and laughing together, I thought about the fear being promoted by many in our nation. I thought about the hate and violence they received in their home countries and the continued prejudices they must still experience in a “safe” place. I thought about how many are relocated with the intent of returning to their true home.
My past religious self would have loved this opportunity to open the egg and explain the resurrection story. However, my current self sees love and acceptance from one community to another. And the vulnerability to join a weird tradition for nothing else than to have fun. What they did not need was one more person asking them to change their beliefs or adapt their worldview. What they needed was a period of joy, acceptance, and knowing they could be themselves. Easter calls us to honor these moments as resurrection. Resurrection in the barriers broken. Resurrection in the joy shared. Resurrection in the new life that was shining after a morning of an unexpected egg hunt.