As a full-time missionary in 2009, spending my first Resurrection Week in El Salvador had a new meaning for me. Although it was always about the remembrance of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead atoning for my past, present and futures sins, it now had a fuller meaning. In Spanish it is referred to as “Pascua” taking on the reference or meaning of the Passover which is referenced in Luke 2:41 and Matthew 26:64. It was not confused or complicated by the “world’s” meaning of Easter which is taken from a pagan goddess. This is not to say that I did not appreciate or enjoy the family time and special meals growing up, but for the first time without family, friends, a special meal or flowers, I had the sheer joy and pleasure on focusing on what the Resurrection celebration meant to me.
On the Friday before the Resurrection Sunday, there were parades with vehicles carrying loudspeakers, singing which sounded more like wailing, cross carrying and crowds of followers. There were colorful sand or salt paintings on the roads, and if one drove over them, it ended with bodily harm or death threats. Absent was the newspaper ads for new clothes, stuff animals, egg hunts, baskets of goodies, candy, and flowers, etc.
The Saturday before Resurrection I was taken to an ocean side village where the people gathered for four hours waiting in the hot sun with swarms of mosquitos to offer worship and praise. They were very poor and humble people who wore mismatched clothing and flip flops, using a wash cloth or dish towel to wipe their brows. They continued to gather until the area was full. Then the “service” began and lasted for several hours. One had to carefully step around the cow and horse dung, and there were no seats. Some were fortunate to find a large rock or tree stump to sit on. However, the majority who gathered and waited for four hours for the service to start remained standing for the entire two plus hours of worship, preaching, more worship and more preaching. There were loud prayers and praises offered. When these believers dispersed to their homes it was dusk.
In contrast to the American church in El Salvador I was in on Resurrection Sunday where the believers gathered to worship wore their very best or new clothing and shoes, talking about what they would eat after the service, that lasted exactly on hour, no more or no less. I am not condemning them, only sharing a contrast. Those that I had worshiped with the afternoon – evening before, would be fortunate if they had rice OR beans with a tortilla for lunch. It was not about a meal, what they wore, or what family activity they would participate in. It was only about the Worship and Praise for the Risen Savior! I was humbled by this contrast and reflected upon what has happened in the American “Christian” churches and the affect it has on children as all the other “holiday activities” take place. Every year since 2009, during the RESURRECTION week, these thoughts come to mind and I think about the impact it had on my life seeing this contrast.
It was at that point that I saw the true spirit of the meek coming together to worship the RESURRECTED Christ. To worship the ONE who gave HIMSELF as a sacrifice for my sins. The ONE and ONLY ONE that death had no victory over. The Lord and Savior who rose from the dead, who had victory over death as promised as early as Genesis and throughout the Psalms and Old Testament. The Christ who is sitting at the Right Hand of the Father making intercession for the believers. The Christ, who when he departed promised to send the Comfortor. The One who would give power to the believers as was written about in Acts and the New Testament when the Apostles and disciples were empowered and shared the Gospel with great boldness, even unto the point of death.
From that point on I asked the Lord to help me remember HIS RESURRECTTION and the great priced HE paid on my behalf and not to use the world’s terminology – Easter.
Rejoicing in HIS RESURRECTION and Power!
The journey Continues…