Easter 2018. Suffering and laughing

Easter 2018 is rapidly approaching.

As I write this column it is Good Friday, the day that the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on a cross at Calvary is remembered all over the world.
For years it seemed Easter was out of fashion, at least in Holland. Many people hardly knew why Easter was celebrated, they couldn’t say much more than hunting Easter eggs, chocolate eggs and Easter bunny. O yeah, often people are listening to the St Matthew Passion, but likely more because of the wonderful music of Bach than because of a personal engagement with Jesus’ suffering. At the end for a lot of people Easter also means nicely eating together, but honestly said this can be done every day, it’s not typical for Easter.
However it seems that nowadays Easter experiences a revaluation. In various countries one can watch The Passion, a grand TV spectacle where the passion is told and shown by using contemporary music. In The Netherlands about 3 million people watched this year, that is probably more than the total number of people going to church with Easter!
Nowadays the Holy Week gets more attention than before in many churches, e.g. in our own church in Holland where members of the congregation are getting together for a sober meal in monastic style. After that there are evensongs and services from Monday until Holy Saturday, all in attempt to come closer to the meaning and mysticism of the passion of Jesus.
In Ghana and PCC there is (still) no reason to consider a revival of Good Friday and Easter, these Christian holidays are getting plenty of attention in the Ghanaian churches and society.
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One of the great questions of Christianity trough the ages was and is how to combine an Almighty God and His goodness with all the suffering in the world and it seems still nobody has found a final answer.
Horrible big hardships can be seen everywhere around us, in Syria, South-Sudan, Myanmar and in so many other places.
But also “small” personal suffering as a result of abuse, diseases, accidents, depression or disabilities has not reduced over the ages since Calvary.
Also in PCC one the suffering of almost all residents with their disabilities can be seen and felt and yet there is a lot of laughter in PCC. That’s an absurdity that can’t be understood fully, but it makes us very happy. Being disabled and at the same time being happy and satisfied can go Hand in Hand, because we don’t look upon the disability, but it’s all about how to live well and in peace and feel secure with your disability.
Suffering and laughing, verily a special combination.
The happiness of the Christian, saying on Easter Day “The Lord is risen indeed”, can only exist against the background of the suffering of Jesus on good Friday.
The smiles on the faces of the PCC children make us happy, in particular when we also remember the dark periods in their life before coming to PCC.
What a privilege it is that we may wipe away their tears, can support them during their life is PCC and are able to surround them with good care.
What a happiness that often we can laugh and dance with all residents, dancing in the light of Easter.
After Easter suffering will never again have the final say, also not in PCC. We may live and dance in faith, hope and love and dream of the new Heaven and the new Earth, of living in His everlasting peace. Hallelujah.