Monday, April 13, 2009
We trust you had a great weekend remembering and celebrating Jesus' death and resurrection on our behalf. Easter, along with other Christian holidays, is always a bit different here because hardly anyone is preparing to celebrate compared with the hussle and bussle and mad advertising back home. We didn't even dye eggs this year as we couldn't find any white ones.
Throughout the week before Easter, our family has a tradition of opening a plastic egg each night before bed. Each egg contains an object that reminds us of part of the Easter story and some corresponding verses. This year, however, we got an even more visual and interactive version of the events of Holy Week. We began the weekend with a chapel service at Sahel Academy on Good Friday. The entire school participated in acting out the story of Jesus' last week. Starting with the younger grades with their palm branches, through the Last Supper, the crucifiction, and Jesus' resurrection. Intermingled with the story we sang songs that reflected on what we were seeing. They did a great job.
Saturday we participated in the annual Easter egg hunt at the ambassador's residence. The kids left with LOADS of loot. Tom, in particular, found the "golden egg" for his age group and so came home with an extra big load.
Sunday we attended our church's annual Easter baptismal service. First breakfast was served, a spicy meat mixture on baguette, then we gathered around the outside baptismal to watch as 10 people publicly declared their faith-there was even tv coverage! As usual, our kids are facinated by the chance to watch in an up close and personal way. They stationed themselves right next to the cement edge so that they would see every bit of the proceedings. It made even more of an impact than usual as the big brother of one of their friends from school was getting baptized. This was followed by the normal Sunday service. Africans really are much more open to expressing joy in physical ways than we westerners, so we had a joyful service with singing, clapping, dancing- the highlight of that was the very old grandma that danced down the aisle, a good message, and celebrating communion together. How thankful we are that Jesus has risen so that we are no longer in bondage of death! At this time of year I love remembering John Donne's Holy Sonnet #10 "One short sleep past, we wake eternally and Death, thou shalt die!" Or as the Bible puts it, "Death, where is thy victory!?"
After church, we returned home to prepare lunch for 13. Our neighbors and a few friends joined us and we had a fun time of eating, laughing, doing puzzles, and being silly together-notably the visits of two funny bunnies... I am always so grateful for other adults in my children's lives who love them and play with them and treat them as important people. I loved that the kids were included in conversations and in puzzle solving. How many people do you know that would go THIS far in playing Easter bunny with a 5 year old!?
Today, Easter Monday, is not a holiday in the US, but it is here for some reason! We always enjoy the extra day to sleep late and clean up after a full day on Sunday. Stay tuned for our next post when we will tell you all the latest about our own live, Easter bunny...