The Easter story is filled with the witnesses of women. Several of their stories are mentioned within the days that surround the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. One of these stories is a scene that took place on Calvary’s hill.
We can’t picture the scene on Calvary without considering the women who were there. “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and mary Magdalene.” (John 19:25, NIV)
Mary, His mother, who had been there at the beginning, stood by Him at the end. Those final moments must have been too much for a mother’s heart to bear alone. How grateful she must have been for a sweet sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, who came to support her ––to carry her through. I picture her there, Mary’s sister, with her quiet strength, her unyielding support, her devotion.
And then there was Mary Magdalene whose life story is filled with personal experience with the Savior. She reminds us that we too can have tender, one-on-one moments with the Lord.
Think about these three women: One bore witness with her presence, one bore witness with her support, and one bore witness with her testimony of the risen Lord. What can you learn from these stories?
The tradition that accompanies the story of these three women will require several yellow onion skins and some hard boiled eggs.
In Serbia there is a tradition that was create many years ago. After World War II the Communist party wanted the children to be taught that there was no God. The grandmothers were worried about their posterity growing up without knowing about Jesus Christ. Every year at Easter they would hold a midnight Mass. Then the children would come home and stay up all night dying red eggs.
For the people of Serbia eggs symbolized the Eternal life of Jesus. According to some legends the white eggs Mary left at the tomb turned red after the Resurrection.
One of my favorite parts of the Serbian Easter tradition is what took place the following morning. People would go from door to door. The person knocking at the door would say, “Christ has risen.” The person on the inside of the door would say, “Indeed He has.” And then they would give the visitor a red egg to take home with them.
The red egg meant good luck.
Each family would choose one red egg to display somewhere in their home until Easter came the next year.
To make a beautiful red dye, use the dins of fifteen yellow onions. “(yes, yellow!) Place the skins in a saucepan with 3 to 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Bring to a boil for 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Wash 6 uncooked eggs. Place in onion water. Return pan to heat and simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, but leave eggs in the water. Leaving the eggs in the dye overnight will help you achieve a deep red color. When they have dried completely polish the eggs with olive oil.
Mary Magdalen, Mary the Mother of Jesus,
and Mary the Wife of Clopas
remind us that our personal experiences with the Lord
will create testimonies that are unique, fragile,
and worth sharing with those we love.