This year I am celebrating Easter in Cambodia.
Throughout the year when big a celebration is coming I try and take some time to reflect and look for something new, a deeper understanding, or a more personal application... something. I don't want the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to go unnoticed in my heart or my life.
This year I have been doing some specific Scriptural readings for Lent. Since I don't come from a liturgical background, this is not part of my normal Easter celebration and I have really enjoyed it. I have tiptoed through both the Old and New Testaments. The amazing reminder of how awful sin really is and our dire need for a Savior has jumped from the pages of Scripture.
The chasm between a sinner and a holy God is huge and no amount of human effort breaches that.
In the Philippines there is an extreme tradition for Easter. This year one man will once again hang on a cross. There is no intent to kill this man, but for him to willingly walk in the steps of Jesus and somehow grow closer to Him. (I am not exactly sure all the reasons, but this has been going on for as long as I can remember.)
The other extreme are those in the world who choose to ignore Jesus and His work on the cross, and His power over death as seen in His resurrection.
So often when I speak the name of Jesus here in Cambodia, I get a blank stare or some confusion about what I have said. The awareness of Jesus let alone His power over sin and death is non-existent to many. This is the greater tragedy.
In my own life it is easy to take for granted all that Jesus is and has done. Thankfully, I have never not known about Jesus. My life has been surrounded by His truth and love, and I am forever grateful, but some days I take Him for granted.
Recently I was able to be part of a celebration. We were able to gift about 50 families in our Minefield ministry site with some animals. (chickens, ducks and one family received a cow : ) Many people gave so that these families could be blessed, and I was blessed to be present for the ceremony.
All the families were thankful, but one woman stood out to me. Her thankfulness flowed out of her in ways she couldn't contain. I have no idea of her circumstances, but it seemed as if 10 ducks were going to change her life.
Her posture of thankfulness is one I want to emulate in response to Jesus. I don't want to take Him for granted, and I want to remember that He has not only changed my life but He has given me new life in Him!
I am looking forward to the rest of the story of this dear woman. I desperately want her to know Jesus and have her life not only changed for today and tomorrow but for eternity!