April 19, 2019
Let’s Read: Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg
DeGezelle, Terri. Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg. Pauline Books & Media, 2017.
Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg tells a story that we don’t know is true. That’s why the word legend is in the title. But it also tells a story that we DO know is true. Reading this book with your children is a way to talk about the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus as well as the awesome miracle of his Resurrection. The story handles the hard parts without being scary, and celebrates the good parts with joy.
For us to know —
Scripture doesn’t actually tell us a whole lot about Simon of Cyrene. We know that he was from Cyrene, a town in what is now Libya in northern Africa. We know that he was on the way into Jerusalem when Jesus was on the way out of Jerusalem with his cross or crossbeam. We know that Simon was pressed into service by the soldiers that were forcing Jesus to carry his cross to the place of his crucifixion. Those soldiers were afraid that Jesus wouldn’t make it. So they pulled Simon out of the safety of the crowd and forced him to help Jesus with his deadly burden. We also know that Simon was the father of two sons, Alexander and Rufus. We can assume that the experience changed life for Simon. He became a follower of the Risen Christ, a Christian.
It is tempting to hide our children from the ugliness of the cross. Jesus suffered. It was human beings who caused that suffering. But children are rarely unaware of the brokenness of the world. They see. They know. What they need is someone to explain it. What they need is someone to say: Evil exists, bad exists. People sin. But God is stronger and better and more good than all of that. God’s love ALWAYS wins. The new life of the resurrection of Jesus defeats brokenness and death with the glory of eternal life. All beauty, goodness, and truth are caught up in this miracle.
For our children to know —
Sometimes people do really bad things and hurt others. Long, long ago, some people hurt Jesus. They wanted to stop him from doing good in the world. They wanted to stop him from leading people to God the Father. So they chose to hurt him and put him to death.
But Jesus is God’s Son. Even though Jesus was hurt, something good and more important would come from it. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter! He left pain and death behind. He showed that God’s love for each of us is stronger than evil and pain and death.
Easter is the most important day for Christians. That is because on this day we celebrate that Jesus is alive and will be with us forever. Jesus forgives our sins. Jesus shows us how to love. Jesus shows us that goodness, love, and life will always win in the end. If we know and love Jesus we can be joyful, even when bad things happen.
At Easter we often use symbols of new life: eggs, butterflies, flowers, and baby animals to show the new life and joy that we have because Jesus rose.
- Why did Simon help Jesus?
- How do you think helping Jesus affected Simon?
- Some of Jesus’ friends saw him after he rose from the dead on Easter. What do you think that was like?
- What are some signs of new life that we use to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection?
Let’s Do: Coloring Easter Eggs – of course!
Eggs are meaningful at Easter because they are symbols of the new life.
- Use white or other light colored crayons to draw symbols that represent the Easter story on hard-boiled eggs. Try drawing crosses, the tomb with a stone in front of it, flowers, butterflies, or stick figures to represent Jesus, Mary, the disciples John and Peter, Mary Magdalene, or Simon.
- Then dye the eggs. The dye will not stick to the crayoned designs, making beautiful pictures.
- We can give special meaning to the colors we use to dye Easter eggs (or the jelly beans we eat). The colors mentioned in the book are
- Blue – the Sea of Galilee. Jesus spent much time fishing and teaching his disciples there. This is also where Jesus walked on water.
- Green – the hillside where Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount” and also where the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes took place.
- Red – the blood of Jesus when he was hurt and crucified by the soldiers
- Purple – the usual color of royalty; Jesus is King of our hearts
You could also use
- Yellow – the bright sunlight on the day Jesus rose from the dead
- Orange – the color of our joy at the Good News that Jesus rose from the dead!
From a bulb that we plant in the ground
comes a beautiful flower.
From a caterpillar’s cocoon
comes a colorful butterfly.
From an simple white egg
hatches a baby chick.
From the grave closed with a stone
Because he died for us
and because he rose to new life,
we have life forever.
Thank you God,
for new life in Jesus.
How many signs of new life can you find around you in the coming week? Each one is a sign of the goodness of God!
Word Every Catholic Should Know:
Resurrection: Jesus rising from the dead on the third day after he was crucified. Jesus appeared to many people in many places over a period of 40 days after Easter.
Scripture for Children: The Resurrection stories are in all of the 4 Gospels. Choose 1 to read from a children’s Bible…
Matthew 28: 1-15; Mark 16:1-13; Luke241-49; John 20: 1-29.