Today, Terri and some friends dyed Easter eggs. They used a traditional Romanian technique, the details of which are a little vague to me. Something about boiled onion skin, stockings and string. But the results are very nice, aren’t they? A little more subdued than the eggs I’m used to.
Even more than the usual Easter eggs, these remind me of a favorite story, passed on from the early days of Christianity. In concerns St. Mary Magdalene, one of the companion of Jesus, who is said to have been eating supper with Caesar Tiberius and telling him the story of the Resurrection.
Laughing at her, Caesar pointed to some of the food on the table, and said, “A man is no more able to rise from the dead than one of those white eggs is to spontaneously turn red.”
Mary picked an egg up and, as Caesar watched, it slowly turned red in her hand.
This is one of many legends about Mary Magdalene, no more likely than the rest but at least a bit more pious than of the Dan Brown stuff. It’s a popular story; she is often depicted, in icons and other works of Christian art, holding an egg that is half-whit and half-red.
It’s also a useful story, since it demonstrates the limitations of what Christians sometimes call “apologetics,” the kind of conversation that tries to prove the truths we proclaim. It reminds us that while all Christians are called by God to share their faith, it is only God’s power than can change doubt to faith.