Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Monday


When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died; 
my richest gain I count but loss, 
and pour contempt on all my pride.
 
Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine, 
demands my soul, my life, my all. 
 
               - Isaac Watts 1707
 

Feliz Pascua!! Happy Easter!! This was how people in Maputo shared their Easter greetings with each other this past weekend. For a country where religion was quite suppressed during the socialist regime, I was surprised at how big of a deal Easter seemed to be here in Mozambique. The Christian community seemed to come out in full force and made a louder noise than at Christmas time. Our office took the afternoon off on Good Friday so people could attend church or just share the holy “spirits” in the baraca. I was able to join with some other Christian friends here in Maputo for a time to reflect on the sacrifice and significance of the Passion Week.

Then on Easter Sunday I woke up super early to join my empregadda Rebecca and the rest of her family at their church in Hulene, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Maputo. The service was entirely in Shangana, the local Mozambican language, but I was still able to enjoy immensely the three hours of singing, dancing and genuine worship despite not understanding a single word of what was being said. The pastor even called me up to the front to say some words and presented me with a Portuguese bible. White guys with beards and long hair are a pretty uncommon sight in Maputo and are almost unheard of in these all-black communities. As a result, a lot of Mozambicans think I look like Jesus so you can imagine how popular I was on Easter Sunday!!

After the marathon service I was invited back to the home of Rebecca’s sister Gloria for Easter Lunch. The afternoon was spent eating, sharing stories and, of course, more singing and dancing. I also got to play with all of the beautiful children in the neighbourhood who came out in earnest to see who this stranger was in their midst. By the end of the day my soul was cleansed and I was on the most incredible spiritual high.

Lord help me find the meaning of your resurrection,
May I rise above the forces that work to hold me down
Speaking love and showing light
May I join in the chorus of the living,
The work of the righteous,
And the world wide dance of those who believe
In the power of your Name

This is my prayer for the countless souls
Who live and breathe
For the Resurrected Africa
One that rises like the sun over the shadows
of death and disease and war


Alleluia, the freedom is here!

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Jesus, when will you come home?

11:27 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:20 p.m.  
Blogger Elise said...

aleluia!

8:22 a.m.  
Blogger Crystal said...

I miss the singing and dancing. We really do have a reason to celebrate on Easter Sunday. I don't want to forget that...

5:33 p.m.  
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