Beautiful Easter Eggs – Naturally

Happy Easter everyone and a very Happy Orthodox Easter too!  This year both Easters fall on the same day uniting all Christians. So Hristos Se Rodi (Срећан Ускрс) to all my Serbian relatives.  Christ is Risen indeed.

Today I just had to share how my very talented cousin Aleksandra, coloured her Easter eggs.  I think this is so incredibly beautiful.  She uses onion skins for the colour rather than food colouring and sprigs of herbs for the impressions.  Her technique is below.

 

 

 

To Make these beautiful Easter eggs:

Wrap the egg and herbs in stocking very tightly knotting the edge of each stocking.
Put a dozen eggs in cold water, with the outer peels of 8-10 onions.  Add 3 tablespoons white vinegar. Bring to boil, lower flame then cook about 15 mins. Turn off flame and let sit in pot until cool or take out earlier when you like the color.

Although Aleksandra used brown onion skins, she says red onions, beets or red cabbage can also be used for a more vibrant colour.  She also used a variety of herbs but thyme was her favourite.

Tip: If you re-use the liquid dye, the next batch of eggs will be darker.

Tip 2: When placing herbs on the eggs, wet them first with a bit of water to help them stick.

 

The Scene In Beauty And The Beast Which Reminds Me Of Easter

Photo by Walt Disney Studios

After a lot of deliberation, discussion and uncertainty, I finally decided to give the new Beauty and the Beast film a try.  I had watched the trailers unimpressed and felt quite dubious as to whether Emma Watson could do the role of Belle justice. Yet after hearing lots of good reviews, my husband,  daughter Brianna and I went to see it yesterday afternoon.

Despite the fact that we went on a Saturday afternoon during Easter weekend (what was I thinking?!), and despite the children sitting directly behind us banging our chairs occasionally, we absolutely loved it.  More than loved it–we were all very emotionally moved.

I hate to admit it but Emma Watson was great as Belle.  Emma’s Belle was young, sweet and fearless–a girl with hopes, dreams AND sense. The set, costumes and song numbers were dazzling….sometimes maybe a bit too dazzling. The acting of all the cast was superb.  Kevin Kline as Belle’s father was especially endearing. The CGI of the beast’s face and expressions were exceptionally well done.

I don’t want to give too much away, but for me one of the highlights is that it’s mainly a  live copy of the original but with added new songs and subtle twists.

This brings me to the one scene I want to share as it is Easter.

::::::::::::::::::Spoiler alert!  Stop reading if you haven’t seen the film!:::::::::::::::::::::::

In one scene of the film, Mrs Potts expresses to Belle that in her opinion they are all to blame for the Prince’s downfall.  She tells Belle that he had been a small boy when his mother died.  His father was not a noble character and he raised the boy to be just like him.  Mrs Potts regrets that she and the other servants allowed that to happen. This explains why the Enchantress chose to include them all in the curse.

Later, near the very end of the scene, the beast, having been shot by Gaston lies dying.  Unlike the animated version, the last petal falls and turns to ash before Belle declares her love. The inhabitants of the castle: Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts all become inanimate objects. The beast dies.  It looks as if Belle has declared her love for the beast too late to save him.  However, Agatha (the hag/enchantress) is there looking on and she has overheard Belle. She restores the rose and shows mercy by lifting the curse and restoring everyone to their former (but now redemptive selves) and allowing the beast to live again.

Perhaps the scene was never meant to be an allegorical message of atonement, salvation and unconditional love. It was probably just a coincidence that the movie came out a month before Easter and that the well-known scene had been subtly yet powerfully changed. Although I’d be interested to know why the change was made, at this moment it doesn’t matter.  For now, I want to just feel the magic.

On this Easter day, I want to embrace the deeper magic–the message that even onto death, God’s love and mercy is never too late.

Through The Heart Of Ultimate Love

What  is it like to see the world and all of creation from God’s perspective? I know this seems like such an odd question to ponder upon but somehow while my mind was flitting about in the early hours of the morning, my mind found rest on that thought.  When my mind wanders it is a fast wandering. Strangely enough, I am not a quick thinker normally but give my mind freedom to wander just before going to sleep at night or just as I am waking up and my mind will shift into warp speed.

This morning, my mind meandered its way to thoughts on the trinity and how Jesus came to earth because of his love for us.  I tried to envision this–the world, humanity and the decision to become man all from God’s perspective and surprised myself with my own inability to imagine just what that is like.

First, there is God and there’s the world and all in it and He created it.  The image that first came to mind was the cover of a science fiction book I read when I was a teenager.  The cover showed a Scientist looking at a tiny modern world. Seeing it from that perspective, a huge God looking at his tiny world which he created felt enormously detached to me.  I mean if you were in this Scientist’s shoes, would you want to become small, enter into the world you created as one of your own creation, suffer and die all for their sake? It’s like  me deciding to live in an ant colony. Bear in mind please that these are the sleepy thoughts during the sleepy hours of the morning for me.  My mind may be on warp speed but it still isn’t quite awake.

I then realized the scale of my image was all wrong. God isn’t a giant holding a tiny art project in his hands. He already was in the world with his creation before Jesus ever put on human clothing. So I began to imagine what that was like–to be an omnipresent God living with mankind.  God created everything in the world.  He created all living creatures and humanity.  He is everywhere, mainly unseen but seeing all. He sees the hurt and suffering people inflict on each other. He sees the malice, the wars, the pride, the scathing judging of others–He sees all this not from the perspective of a giant peering down from the sky nor from the perspective of a psychic seeing it all telepathically through the mind’s eye.  He sees it as if He is experiencing it himself.  When the man was beating his wife, God was there like a witness in the room, seeing it all up close; and God was seeing it through the heart of the  man doing the beating; and God was seeing it through the heart of the wife taking the blows.

When the religious leader advised the king in God’s name to stone the old woman for stealing fruit from the royal orchard, God was there as a witness, knowing all that is in the hearts and minds of the king, the religious advisor and the old woman.

When Pharaoh decreed that all newborn males should be thrown into the Nile, God was there too–witnessing it through those that slain the babies, Pharaoh hearing the reports, the mothers screaming for their babies and the babes themselves.  He was already among us grieving yet looking at us in love; wanting not to condemn but to help, to show us the way of His kingdom so we can end the suffering.  He hated the sin but He did not turn away from it.  He was there experiencing it and then sent himself through His son Jesus so we would know the extent of His love and our potential and commission to realize the kingdom of God on earth.  He had been there all along and then He humbled himself to be one of us and to experience what we experience in the flesh.  That is His love for us.  None of us have that great of a love for our neighbours.  Yet still I ask, if it were us, would we have made the same decision? Would we have chosen to become human during those times? Would any of us be able to look upon a murderer, a sadist, a rapist, a murderer of hundreds of children–in love?

I have heard some individuals attempt to explain the gospel like this: Sin separates us from God because He is so holy and cannot look upon or be in the presence of sin.  All sin is punishable by death so God sent His son to die for the punishment of our sins. What rubbish! In fact, it is blasphemous. How can God be omnipresent and still be separate from sinners? God does not shy away from seeing our sins,  He is there always and is loving always.  In fact, He is love always and He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Love is expansive and God is the ultimate of that expansion.  The absolute, ultimate Love.