I have always wondered how did the tradition of the Easter Bunny and the egg hunt transpire? Mind you not wondered enough to actually find out, but wondered just the same. But what does an egg hunt have to do with the redeeming power of Jesus? You will have to do your own research to find out, but I have my own story about encountering Jesus’ power to transform at an egg hunt.
Two years ago the church decided to build relationships in our immediate community by hosting an egg hunt at Cumberland Crossing Apartments. It occurred on the first beautiful weekend after a particularly cold and snowy winter. About seventy-five children and their families attended and made crafts, played games, munched on cookies, got their picture taken with the Easter Bunny and, of course, hunted eggs. It was a great afternoon people lingered, talked, and everyone seemed to have fun.
It wasn’t until later in the summer that I found out the significance of that afternoon. At Fun Friday, where we invite the community for a cookout in the park, a woman approached me and said “I saw you at Vacation Bible School and the egg hunt. I wanted you to know what an answer to prayer the egg hunt was.” Wait, what? The egg hunt an answer to prayer? I am sure I probably stammered when I said, “Oh, I am so glad, how so?”
The woman, Mary, shared that she and her son had moved into the apartments in November and due to the bad weather he had not made connections and the isolation was taking its toll. She explained they met a family at the egg hunt and the boys became fast friends. About this time two boys wondered over and I knew one of them who “happened” to be in my Vacation Bible School small group—he was the boy her son had met. After their positive experience at the egg hunt they decided to go to Vacation Bible School and from there they came to the Fun Fridays.
I enjoyed talking with her so much I got her contact information and we periodically stayed in touch. I also got to know the other boy’s mother, as she “happened” to work at the grocery store where I shop. I had a school assignment involving discovering the power of a meal to build community, so I invited my two new friends and a few others from church to my home for dinner. We had a great evening talking and hearing each other’s stories. Mary shared she was looking for ways she and her son could serve together and also some of the challenges of being a single mom and her desire for positive male role models for her son. My family is involved in Boy Scouts and I invited her son to join our scout troop, when he met the age requirement, as what she hoped for scouting might offer.
In February, I contacted her again and she agreed to bring her son to an information meeting. He happily joined until he realized it was going to involve monthly camping. He was ready to drop out when some older scouts helped gather all the gear he would need and that gave him enough encouragement to at least try. It was a rough first campout but everyone did their best to support and include him. He came away with a new sense of self-confidence and a whole new group of people who cared for him and his family. It has been a year since he joined and he has not missed a campout yet.
Mary and I have grown in friendship through the experience and she turned out to be the first person that laid hands on and prayed for me after I experienced a call to become a pastor. She also has found a way to use her gifts for scouting in a way that blesses her and others.
So through a simple egg hunt both my family and hers have encountered Christ in each other and have been blessed—the abundance and power of community!
We are hosting another Egg Hunt on March 26th at Cumberland Crossing Apartments beginning at 2pm. Maybe you should come and see how God might use the experience to bless you and someone you meet.