Every year we sigh as the Easter eggs arrive in stores earlier and earlier. I'm pretty sure the stocking or shelves could precede Christmas if it continues. Well okay, maybe not, but I think it is already the start of January! It used to be just the eggs, but now it is Easter cards, and the suggestion of other gifts. Because we can never have enough. The eggs themselves have become a way to promote the latest movies and other characters or toys. Gone is the symbolism of new life in a simple egg.
As an aside, I read that Cadbury were producing a free trade egg this year. Which means of course the vast majority aren't. So we're exploiting child labour too...
I digress. Back to the stores.
Our first Easter in Jakarta. No sign of it here. So much so, that I keep forgetting it is Easter! Which is a tad embarrassing, since it is the central celebration of my faith. I was always partial to a 'few' eggs prior to Easter. Especially those little speckled eggs... Not this year.
So it was perhaps an opportunity to boo hoo the entire thing. To start some family traditions that are meaningful, with Jesus at the centre. Not that he isn't normally, but naturally it's Jesus PLUS bunny colouring competitions at Woolies. And I confess I find it hard to eradicate our family of the easter bunny. I know, I know. A number of friends refuse to be drawn in. But I have such wonderful memories of the fun surrounding it all when I was little, that I can't help myself. The Easter Bunny will find the boys in jakarta. But only because of the visit this week of my generous uncle.
We did have an Easter egg hunt last weekend, organized by the residence where we live. It was hilarious. One hundred kids. Searching for boiled eggs. Plain boiled eggs. One of my boys said, "Mum, I dont want to do this! There's no chocolate!" His mother's son. But hunt they did. One even won a prize - a ridiculous looking enormous Teddy money box - which he promptly gave away to the nearest willing child (finding that willing child was harder than the egg hunt). Not sure where the Teddy fit in to the whole story, but there you are.
So I pause. Two days after my uncle visited from Australia. The day after Tony's birthday. The day before Good Friday. And of course four days before Bombers v Pies on Anzac day... To notice that Easter is here. Now. And I've nearly missed it.
We have been reading about the lead up to Jesus' death with the boys each night. It seems that every year I am newly astounded by the fact that Palm Sunday was only five days prior. That he was heralded as a 'king'. And then a number of days later brutally killed.
This morning I was reading about Jesus praying prior to his arrest. The words washed over me afresh. "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." (Luke 22:44)
It's overwhelming. Isn't it?
It's overwhelming. Isn't it?
It doesn't matter where you are in the world.
Jesus suffered. This sinless servant. Rejected. Spat on. Beaten. Mocked. Pierced. He died. An excruciating death.
And then he rose.
And all of this was for me. Oh, and for you.
So that we could meet with God. Know him. Worship him. In freedom. Forgiven. As saints. Forever. Because once you know Jesus, eternal life begins. Immediately. By Grace. Because of love.
I am not worthy of such suffering. But because of it, I bow down.
May you bow down this Easter too. It's okay to have a piece of chocolate. But remember that sweat of blood. And all that followed. And bow down.
31. The fact that history does not deny that Jesus lived.
32. That when on earth, Jesus knew temptation and suffering.
33. That Jesus did not sin, and so could be sacrificed for mine.
34. That Jesus was a servant, and calls me to be one.
35. That he willingly went to the cross.
36. For his blood that was shed.
39. Eternal life.
40. For the Easter story, that should cause us all to bow down every day of our lives.