Sunday, April 4, 2010

Holy Week

As much as possible, I post pictures with the blog. Today during the Easter service at Huejotzingo, I would have liked to have taken more pictures to show the 21 children and adults listening with rapt attention as Abraham told the story of man's fall, God's faithfulness,and Jesus' birth, ministry, arrest, and death. I could not take pictures during this time, however, since the children's attention would have left the life-giving story and focused instead on the camera.

After Abraham finished recounting the centuries-old story that remains fresh every year, we began serving food. The small congregation enjoyed eating and later playing together. At that time, some of the children took pictures and clamored to see the ones I had taken of them.

Much earlier in the day, 4:30 a.m. to be exact, we woke up to prepare for church. It is customary at Dios es Amor to celebrate Easter with a sunrise service and then a potluck breakfast. This time, Pastor Manuel had asked Abraham to preach. He chose 1 Corinthians 15, primarily reading the verses aloud, but also explaining and emphasizing the message that Jesus is risen. He did not stay in the tomb! Death had no hold on him.

By 7:30 a.m., the sun had risen, accompanied by bursts of birdsong. The service ended, and we all gathered in the kitchen to select from a wide variety of breakfast foods. The majority of the congregation remained to socialize, and after eating, a large group left for a nearby housing development for several hours of soccer.

From there, at 11, eight of us went to Huejotzingo where we stayed until mid-afternoon.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah, he is risen indeed!

For many in Mexico, the message of his resurrection is drowned out by the traditions wrapped around truth. On Saturday night, Abraham and I went to stay at Six's house. As we left the bus and began walking to her house, we saw family groups walking home, carrying large lighted candles. When we stopped to buy food outside a Catholic church, we asked the lady what the candles were for. She said people had bought them in order that they would be blessed. Throughout the year, when storms come, the people will light the blessed candles, and supposedly the storms will disappear. They also burn palm branches from Palm Sunday for the same reason.

The lady explained that people would continue taking candles to the church until about midnight. "And tomorrow?" Abraham asked, "Is there something important then?"

"Yes," She said casually,"That's when Jesus rose from the dead. It's a very quiet day." Not many people bother to go to church on Resurrection Sunday. As long as the bloodied statue of Jesus is carried around on Good Friday and the candles and palms are blessed, that's enough.

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