We wish everyone a happy Easter as we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death on our behalf. We are humbled as we remember that Jesus suffered and died to bring us to the Father. Ethiopians always have to be different than the rest of the world – they celebrate Easter next Sunday. Today was Palm Sunday for them, where we remember Jesus coming into Jerusalem the week of Passover, before His death and resurrection. The Bible explains how people hailed Him as King as He rode into Jerusalem, so there were parades around town today with palm branches being waved and enthusiastic singing. Many people wore palm branches tied around their foreheads to commemorate the event. I saw this little boy at the bakery this morning and asked him if I could take his picture with the palm around his forehead. Most people had a simple leaf tied around their heads, but this boy’s dad was great at making special designs with them.
Ethiopians are very devout people in general. They are not nearly as concerned about personal comfort as we are, and I often admire their self discipline. They make many choices day to day that I think I would have difficulty making. When their monthly budget doesn’t cover expenses, they consciously plan to eat two meals instead of three, or eat every other day instead of every day. When we complained about the time of our Easter sunrise service this morning to some of our Ethiopian friends (starting at 6:15 this morning), they said nothing. Then we asked about when their Easter service starts (next week, of course), they informed us that their service ends at sunrise, after going all night long. And knowing their services, most of it will be spent standing. They don’t do the whole egg and Easter Bunny thing. It is a purely religious holiday here. You never realize just how silly the Easter Bunny sounds until you explain it to someone from a different culture… of course, we still had an Easter egg hunt yesterday with our kids and colored eggs.
When I think of the enormity of the event that Christians around the world are remembering today (or next week here in Ethiopia) and how it changed the course of history forever, it seems impossible to grasp the significance of it. It is something God planned since the fall of man, to bring us back to Him at great cost to Himself. Why? Because He wants to have a relationship with us. Hard to imagine. I don’t think any of us will see the power of the resurrection for what it is until:
NIV Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life…Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Originally posted at http://ethiopia.thebernards.org/2012/04/08/happy-easter/.