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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter, Thai Style

Here in Chiang Rai, we celebrate Easter with members from several Thai churches who join in worship together at the cemetery for a sunrise service.  The location was chosen for the practical need for space, but I find it rather symbolic that we begin our celebration in a similar setting as that of Mary Magdalene when she saw the stone rolled away from the tomb just before dawn.

I woke up at 4:45am to heavy rainfall and wind. When we arrived at the cemetery, the rain had turned into an irregular mist and the activity already happening in the area lifted my hopes for a relatively dry service.  Traffic police were stationed out front, women in full church attire under plastic ponchos were handing out pink programs at the entrance, and a pre-teen boy and his dad were distributing steamed pork buns and soy milk to each person - sustenance to stay awake during the service.  As we made our way among the graves, a group of youth huddled under a plastic canopy were playing hymns on their violins, and some Thai teenagers dressed as Roman soldiers were sharing a bottle of Sprite in the distance.  

We found a place between graves and sat down on a plastic tarp, just in time for a huge downpour.  The plastic began collecting a pool of water until my pants were soaked past my knees.  The umbrella was doing little to keep my pork bun and program dry.

  

We never saw the sunrise Easter morning, but the rain did little to dampen our rejoicing in the Risen Savior!