On Easter Sunday 2020 ELCA Bishop Sharon Wee gave the Easter message via virtual technology. Pastor Beth Purdum Eden gave the following Children's message.
The Owl and the Dove
Once there was a wise old owl in a barn. The barn was very old; built of roughly carved yellow stones stacked on top of each other. Its strong roof was made of pieces of dark wood and clay tiles baked in the sun.
The owl often seemed to be asleep, but it wasn’t. It was a very watchful and wise owl. The owl watched barn animals go in and out from a gap in the stone wall.
But one night a man and a woman came into the barn. It was cold outside. They brought blankets to stay overnight there. But they didn’t sleep. Instead, that night, a baby was born.
Very soon after the baby was born the owl saw another bird fly in and rest high over the newborn child on a wooden cross beam. “Hello Dove”, said Owl. The dove was pure white and very beautiful. “Whoooo areyouuuu?” Wise old Owl knew this was no ordinary dove!
Dove looked at Owl. “I am Guardian and Guide,”said Dove. “This child has far to go tomorrow, and tomorrow after that, and all the tomorrows that he will have. I will go with him.”
The next day the people left the barn with the baby and did not return. The dove left with them, but flying so high above that only Owl saw it go.
Many years passed. One day Owl, now much older and even wiser, woke from a light sleep and heard the sound of many people walking past the barn. They were shouting. Some sounded happy. But others sounded angry. They crowded around a man who was walking steadily along. As Owl watched, a pure white dove few in and perched next to Owl.
“Ah,” said owl, “You have returned. The One who was born here so many years ago has grown up and become a man.”“Yes,” said Dove. “He is nearly home after a long time and he is very tired.”
“Where is his home?” asked Owl. “Beyond.” said Dove. “And higher than the highest mountain. He will go there very soon.”
Not long after that the wise old Owl heard that the man was no longer living. His body was put into a very dark cave called a tomb. And a giant stone was set in front of the cave so no one could go in or come out.
The news made Owl very sad. So Owl flew to see where the tomb was. It was night, which is when owls like to fly. When Owl got there it was very quiet. No creature stirred, animal or human.
Owl knew that something was about to happen. Owl thought that Dove was nearby but unseen.
Owl waited through the night watching the cave. In the still-dark time just before a pale soft light began to color the eastern sky, Owl’s sharp eyes saw something move. Owl heard a noise of stone shifting on stone. Suddenly the cave was open!
Out flew Dove! Beautiful Dove swooped and sailed, so full of joy! And just after Dove, came the man. He was alive!
Owl wanted to sing with joy. But owls are more hooters than singers. So Owl called softly, “Come awake little singing birds! Come awake! It is time to sing to the dawn of a new day!”
Then there was a mighty fluttering of tiny wings and the singing began! Such singing as you have never heard before! Thousands of tiny birds sang so loudly that people began to stir even though it was still the soft dark blue time that comes just before dawn.
Very soon three women came to the tomb. At first they seemed sad. But a messenger was there to speak to them. And then came the man himself, while Dove soared high overhead.
Soon the women began to smile and laugh. As the sun rose on the empty tomb the women began to sing for joy, because they dearly loved the man who had been in the tomb. And now they would see him today, tomorrow, and forever!
Owl flew back to the barn hooting softly. “Whooo knewwwww? Whooo knewwwww?” Who knew that the very first ones to know about Easter and to sing for joy, were God’s beloved creatures, the birds!
Pastor Elizabeth Eden
April 12, 2020
I wonder if Owl had a name?
I wonder if Dove had a name?
I wonder if you know who the baby and his parents were?
I wonder if you know where the man went after he left the cave that day?
I wonder which of the birds you would like to be?
I wonder if you would like to draw your own picture about this story?
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 00 parishes in the Western United States for 20 years.