It’s the first Easter at Minto Gardens. Easter is a season of contrasts: honour and praise followed by a day of deep, dark sadness, followed by joy, hope and light. As we reflect on the meaning of Easter, we remembered the occasion of the very first Easter through various ways.
In preparation for Easter, our artist-in-residence Kerry Walsh painted a beautiful poster for us to advertise our Easter service, which was letter boxed to all our residents. The tree reminds us that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us—because it is written, everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.” (Galatians 3:13). If you look carefully, the bare branches have blossoms at the tips, symbolic of the new life that we have through Christ.
The purple cloth draped on the tree reminds us that Jesus was dressed in a purple robe, which belonged to Herod, and it was the most expensive colour available in the Roman Empire. Since Jesus is the King of Kings, the mocking gesture of dressing Him in a purple robe was unwittingly indicative of His royal dignity. On a closely related note, purple has become a symbol of the offense surrounding our sins. Just like Jesus was mocked about being royal, we necessitated this suffering through our sins. Purple is a sort of sorrowful colour, for this reason, a connotation it has acquired through the association with the Passion1.
At ‘Crafternoon with the Chaplain’, some of the residents gathered to make honeycomb Easter eggs from coloured paper which were used to make an Easter installation. “Eggs are a perfect Easter symbol, and a symbol of new life in Christ. Consider the following, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Furthermore, the egg is an illustration the Resurrection itself – a chick emerging from its shell represents Jesus emerging from his tomb on Easter”.2
Michael Duckett, Macarthur Indigenous Church, spoke passionately about the first Easter. He brought his own painting to explain the significance of Easter. The darkness symbolises the evil and sin that surrounds. The red symbolises the blood shed by Christ that dealt with the sin of the world for those who believe (Colossians 1:20). The red is also in the shape of a shield because God is our strength and shield especially in times of despair (Psalm 28:7). The yellow mixed with white in the centre (a sacred colour in Aboriginal artwork) symbolises the light and glory of God that shone through the cross of Christ, bringing eternal life to all who believe. And finally, the cross in the centre symbolising that Jesus conquered all power and authorities, triumphing over death itself (Colossians 2:15). We no longer need to fear the spirits, but we do continue to show respect to sacred places and the elders past.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a cuppa with hot cross buns. Did you know that every part of the hot cross bun has a meaning? The cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial and may also include orange peel to reflect the bitterness of his time on the Cross.3
In this way, the first Easter at Minto Gardens became a reminder of the first Easter when Jesus died on the cross, was buried, then gloriously resurrected. Where Christ sets us free, we are free indeed (John 8:36) – and that freedom is better than chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. May you be challenged with the events of that first Easter, remembering that we do not worship the cross, but the One who sacrificed His life on it, to pay the penalty for our sin, thereby redeeming us to be in the family of God.