Monday, March 24, 2008

Ha Resucitado el Senor!

He is risen, He is risen indeed!

What a day!  Easter in Antigua. 

During Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Antigua, the whole city focuses on the story of Jesus’ life and last days.  There are parades that happen all over the city on predetermined streets and times.  It is the busiest week of the whole year, in that people from all over the Spanish speaking world come to Antigua.  It has a feeling of Times Square during New Year’s Eve.  All the locals take Wednesday through Monday off from work.  Those who own homes on the streets of the parade routes take hours and even days to make “carpets”.  The carpets consist of sawdust that is of various colors, flowers, grass, palm branches, etc. The parades, or processionals begin at the beginning of March and come to a crescendo during this week.  I have never seen such devotion and focus.  When the processional passes through the streets, everyone walks on the carpets and then a dump truck with workers following behind will scrap up the remains and haul it all away.  Each day the processional adds to the story of final days of Christ.  Some streets are marked numerous times in one day on a parade route and so the people will make numerous carpets during that one day.  The biggest processional takes place on Friday night.  This marks the death of Jesus on the Cross.  There is a big gathering in the Central Park.  It is even heavily covered by the national news.  It felt like there were a million people there.

This city is amazing and the people who walk its streets and call it home are even more so.  Today as we were on our way to meet a new friend, Melissa Scott, we were “interrupted” by the final processional.  I say interrupted because we were late in leaving to meet her and the street we were taking was blocked off by the processional.  I tell you, it was another moment for us all and I am so glad that God put this in our path so that we had to stop and partake.  

All the processionals up to this point have been slow, very smokey (incense), and the floats were being carried by men dressed in either purple or black. or women dressed in black and white.  They had all been led by priests up to this point as well.  The band that followed the huge floats were playing a very slow and moody March (Marches) and everyone’s faces were so heavy with a solemn despair.


But today, it was different.  

Today, leading the processional was a small and beat-up Toyota pickup, circa 1980 with these gigantic speakers and a small generator.  It was blasting “party music” as loud as the speakers could carry.  Right behind were a herd of men, women, and children dancing, singing, laughing, more dancing, singing.....  Then came the processional with another float to rival any of the previous days, but this one had a Risen Christ dressed in white and was carried not by the clergy or people dressed in dark clothing with solemn expressions.  The smiling faces of people with colorful clothes were carrying it and they were C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-I-N-G! They were waiving ribbons and there were loud fireworks.  The pic above showcases one man that Kristin and I had noticed separately and later mentioned to each other.  He was smiling so big.  He looked so proud.  The whole thing was so incredible!  


I can only say that it brought much gladness to see such Jubilation 

and that’s really the only word that comes to heart.

Later, we met up with Melissa & Madi, had dinner and exchanged small snapshots of our lives and how God has written some incredible stories.  The nachos were good too.  :-)  Melissa invited us to an orphange/hospital here tomorrow morning before we leave to catch our flight home.  We are really excited and leaning into what God has planned for us there.  

What a pleasure to experience the final processional on the day before we leave.  It is very bittersweet, but we are sure that God has started something here for us.  Just like the craft we shared with the beautiful children at Hannah’s Hope back on day 1, I am certain as we walked the streets and talked with people, we planted some seeds.  I can’t wait to see what kind of garden or forrest it will all become.  



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