Signs of New Life in Christ

May 1, 2022 by Sherry Elliott

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.”

—John 11:25, NRSV


Easter Greetings from The Upper Room. The living Christ is with us today and always. He has risen indeed! 

Decorating eggs has long been a springtime tradition and a creative way to celebrate Easter. I remember dipping hard-boiled eggs into cups of blue and purple dye at the kitchen table and waiting for them to dry. We would hide them along with plastic eggs filled with candy for our family egg hunt after Easter Sunday dinner. I doubt that I recognized this as a child, but the egg is a perfect symbol to represent new life and Jesus’ release from the tomb.

I recently found The Upper Room’s collection of Ukrainian eggs, which were acquired by our museum in the 1980s. The Ukrainian egg is not your typical Easter egg, but more like an exquisite piece of art. The fragile egg is carefully decorated with great purpose and precision with multiple layers of wax and colorful dyes. The decorated egg is called a pysanka, which means “to write or inscribe” in Ukrainian, and is created by freehand with a kitska, a tiny tool that holds melted beeswax. Each design and geometrical detail is added layer by layer and dipped repeatedly into various shades of dye. It could take days to complete one egg. The egg designs often feature signs of spring or themes from the Christian life representing rebirth and new beginnings. The pysanka is a cherished treasure and is given as a gift to neighbors and friends to offer blessings of good health, happiness, love, or spiritual protection.

As I write this article, I’m mindful that four million Ukrainian people are now refugees due to the Russian invasion. They are leaving their beloved friends and homes to find safety in neighboring countries. The Ukrainian eggs have served as reminders to pray for peace and protection for those in peril. 

The Upper Room publisher, Rev. Kimberly Orr, and Peter Velander, Executive Director of International Engagement, are currently in eastern Europe, working with publishing coordinators to help translate prayers and meditations for Ukrainian refugees and those who are helping them. Our aim is to provide spiritual care and support to our siblings in Christ during this difficult time. We plan to share more about this initiative when they return to the States.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to read through the newsletter. You will see hopeful signs of rebirth in our updates on The Upper Room international language editions and on The Academy for Spiritual Formation and Emmaus Ministries. Our global ministry of helping people create daily life with God continues to take shape and expand with your help.

Thank you for being our advocate and partner in ministry. Your constant, faithful giving inspires and blesses us.

Sherry Elliott is the Executive Director of Administration, Interpretation, and Development at The Upper Room.

This article also appears in the Spring 2022 Fellowship Focus newsletter for friends and donors of The Upper Room. Click the image below to view the complete newsletter. 

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.