by Elesinah Chauke, South Africa
In Africa, Easter is a 4-day teaching-saturated celebration which Christians look forward to all year.
Those who live in cities make sure they have their evening meal early on Thursday before Good Friday so they can be at church for the first Easter service. In the countryside, church members gather at the church Thursday afternoon and stay all weekend. Meals are prepared at the church for everyone. The Bible message at the Thursday evening service is on how Jesus was arrested and handed over to those who crucified him.
On Friday morning around 9, everyone goes to church for the second Easter service. They attend a third service at 2 and a fourth at 7. Messages on Good Friday are about Jesus’ death.
Three more worship services on Saturday – again at 9, 2 and 7 – involve teaching about Jesus giving up his life for sinners and the need to repent in order to live with him.
Early Sunday morning, about 5, the church gathers for a service most often led by the women, focused on Jesus’ resurrection. Finally, at 10 Sunday morning, everyone gathers for the main worship service, including celebrating the Lord’s supper.
Our African brothers and sisters model devotion to the scriptures and to fellowship with one another in their Easter weekend traditions in a manner we’d all do well to emulate. May your Easter celebration be distinctly African this year.
Each of us is probably similar to each character in the Easter story (including Judas) in some way. I see too much of Herod in me.Luke tells us the king was pleased when his adversary, Pilate, sent Jesus to him to be examined (Luke 23:6-12). Curious, he wanted to see Jesus do a miracle. With high church officials looking on, Herod asked Jesus all sorts of questions. Continue reading “You, me and King Herod”
Variations of this age-old exchange echo in hundreds of languages around the globe this month. In some countries, these words are emblazoned on banners, giant kites or newspaper ads. It’s shouted out loud in the Czech Republic, whispered quietly in the Middle East.
Ukrainians and Russians spend hours painstakingly decorating eggs. Bulgarians bring red-painted eggs and special bread to church at midnight the Saturday before Easter. Continue reading “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”