Easter is next Sunday. What preparations are you making for the commemoration of this special event in the Christian year?
Most of the world likely considers Bolivia to be a poor backward country. Poor, yes. But backward? In much of the United States, Easter is welcomed with chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. (Did you ever wonder who concocted such an idea?) Church attendance swells for an hour and then dwindles again to normal numbers the next week. Sadly, these commercial influences are beginning to appear in Bolivia. But mostly, it seems Easter is celebrated differently there.
In cities like Potosí, Sucre, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and others, people attend church, rituals, concerts, and processions. Some visit the renovated century-old Jesuit Missions, left by the Spaniards. You can hear the locals playing music taught to them by the ancient Spaniards 500 years ago. Many Bolivian churches celebrate the three most important days of Easter: Good Friday through Resurrection Day. Others prepare 12 meals throughout the entire week between Palm Sunday and Easter.
Likely, a certain amount of this may be chalked up to ritual but it seems preferable to me than the transformation of a holy week into a festival of colored eggs and chocolate bunnies.
Might this Easter be different in your home? Perhaps you’ll take time each day to ponder the path our Lord walked this week. How did He feel riding into Jerusalem, knowing that the people’s welcoming cheers would so soon change to condemning jeers? What was it like for the disciples to have their master wash their feet as a lowly servant would do? What would go through your mind if you were there and heard your beloved Lord say, “One of you will betray me?” What goes through your mind now as you contemplate that it was indeed our sins that put Him on the cross? Certainly you have known sorrow and stress, but have you ever sweat blood while you prayed as He did?
None of us can comprehend what it would be like to be fully God and yet suffer the scornful and painful death while being fully human too. Imagine being completely one with God for all history and yet in an instant moment, forsaken. Imagine hanging on a cross, punished for a crime you didn’t commit, and looking upon the crowd saying, “Father forgive them.” What if you were one of the disciples who had devoted themselves to Jesus, only to experience His death. All alone, dreams and hopes dashed, where do you turn?
And then imagine if you can, hearing the incredible news that your Lord is not dead; He is risen! And not just hearing the news, but seeing for yourself, touching His hands, talking with Him, putting it all together. There’s no way you’d walk away and say, “That was interesting.” There’d be no thought of chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. No, you’d respond like the disciples did. Changed for life, nothing would ever be the same again. Now that your purpose is revealed, you are compelled to devote all your life to it, with all your energy.
Let your devotions this week be filled with the wonder of your salvation, the cost at which it was paid, and the compelling call God places on your heart. And be blessed.