Friday, April 13, 2007


CROSS AND RESURRECTION IN SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA

HOLY WEEK IN THE CONGREGATION

We celebrated Holy Week – from Palm Sunday right through to Good Friday - with special night services. God’s word was shared in the daily Eucharist. One person surprised us by attending all the services! On Thursday we had a foot washing ceremony after the Eucharist; the lay leaders together with the Pastor led the way. Michelle put together a multi-media presentation for Good Friday and some interesting liturgical movements in a procession during in the Easter dawn service. The entire congregation had breakfast together over hot coffee and a simple ham sandwich.

Holy Week has taken on great significance in the congregation. Several years ago I told everyone that remembering and proclaiming Christ's death and resurrection during this period would make it highly inappropriate for anyone to go on vacations. It’s hard to contemplate one’s responsibility – our sins – in Christ’s suffering on the cross at a holiday resort. I heard someone say once, “If we cannot see our face nor hear our voice in the crowds screaming “crucify him”, then we do not understand Christ’s death nor the gospel”.

BOLIVIAN GOOD FRIDAY & EASTER

In Latin America, Good Friday is marked by processions and a diet of fish and vegetables. Almost no one eats red meat unless you're an evangelical Christian trying to prove a point.

A huge bloodied statue of “Christ” is laid to rest, like a corpse, in a transparent coffin and paraded around the town centre and neighbourhoods. It’s a very solemn affair, almost like a funeral, without a hint of His victory on the Cross. As an over reaction, local Christian churches at times avoid any sense of sobriety during Good Friday and tend to play down the significance of our Lord’s death. It leaves the impression of Christ's resurrection being the necessary solution to the failure of the Cross! Luther is probably suffering from heartburn in Paradise. Christian churches come together however at the huge soccer stadium, pray through Saturday night and recieve the dawn of Easter's promise with fireworks, singing, a message and dance items. They know how to pump up the atmosphere on Resurrection Sunday!!

THE CHALLENGE

It’s a challenge to soberly proclaim Christ’s victory on the cross without wallowing in defeatist grief; the joy of resurrection only makes sense within the ambit of redemptive suffering and the promise of Christ's new creation. In this respect some of the lyrics of the old hymns are particularly helpful (try modernizing some of the tunes!).

I tried to reduce my posts on the blog and cut down on internet activity during Holy Week. It was tough; I confess that I was not entirely successful. But the discipline was helpful. Praise The Lord!

2 comments:

Kenny Chee said...

I like what you did during the Holy Week. Maybe I should do that too. You mean communion Mon to Wed, a Maudy Thursday service and a Good Friday service too? What does the Mon to Wed services look like? What about the liturgical movements Michelle arranged ...any video?

raphael said...

we had eucharist up to thursday. Friday's service was exclusively a service of remembrance of Christ's death - Songs, hymns, lots of scripture reading etc...

The services are fished out of the Book of common prayer but I've added prayers from other traditions. Very interesting stufff.