Easter- such a precious time of year in the Christian calendar! It’s an occasion for us to specifically remember the Lord Jesus’ death and rejoice in His resurrection. It’s bittersweet; to fully embrace the rejoicing, you really need to walk down the remembering path, and that can be heart-breaking. The whole weekend can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but it’s tremendous! Some of us have special family traditions we love to embrace, and some have fond memories of Easters past. I actually have one memory that still gives me shivers…

Several years ago, I had the privilege of being part of a missions trip in Manzanillo, Mexico for Easter. It was Good Friday, and we were on our way to an incredibly poor little village to go do our thing. As we traveled in  a minivan taking in the view of the ocean on the left, we noticed something else happening to the right. I curiously looked through the window and realized some sort of Good Friday drama was unraveling. “Wow! How cool is this?” we exclaimed to one another, craning our necks to better see the small crowd marching along. Our home church did a Good Friday presentation back in Canada, and the “Journey to the Cross” had always been a very powerful re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion. This was exciting- an open air one!

As we drove past the “Jesus” actor complete with white robe, crown, and a whacking big cross on his back, I pondered how out of place it looked. Here we all were, busily going about our business with hardly a glance at this poignant reminder of what day it was. Sound familiar? I know I’m guilty of allowing my busy life to get in the way of fixing my eyes on Jesus most days…

Anyway, we marveled at the Mexican drama, and wondered where they would actually end up “doing” the performance. We asked our friend and interpreter sitting up front for details. The van went eerily silent when he explained. “Oh, this is no drama- this man, he will actually be nailed to a cross. It happens a lot here, especially in the villages. Sometimes they actually die. Sometimes not. But it is a great honor for them to play the part of Jesus.”

Our first reaction (like when you pass a car crash) was to turn and get a better look at this man, the one who was on his way to actually be crucified. What was he thinking? Did he really want to do this? And more importantly- WHY? I wanted to jump out, go back, and stop him. Give him a slap or something. Shake the “mourners” until they came to their senses. Explain to them that Jesus was crucified once for all- He paid the price, it is done. Yes, we are to remember His death and resurrection, but not by actually trying to take on the physical pain! The agony Jesus endured, the burden of the sins of mankind- it can never be recreated. It’s beyond our realms of thinking. His LOVE is beyond our realms of thinking…

No fluffy Easter bunnies and scrummy chocolate eggs in this blog! Sorry if I’ve grossed you out or left you feeling somewhat disturbed. You can imagine how we felt for the rest of that Good Friday in Mexico. I couldn’t shake it from my memory. But the reality is, Jesus’ death and miraculous resurrection is something to rejoice in! We shouldn’t shake it from our memories! Be happy, grateful, overcome with the deepest sense of joy and wonder because of His sacrifice for us! Know you are loved with an everlasting love that spans the width of the cross and way, way beyond.

Take time to Remember and Rejoice this Easter weekend. Let it spill out into the rest of your year!

Have a truly Blessed Easter, my friends! x

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