Ólafur Arnalds – Tunglið 

A couple of years ago I spent Easter in Guatemala. Celebrations for the holiday last the whole week, and the city of Antigua is crowded with people from all over the world.  “Semana Santa” is the “Holy Week”, and incense-filled processions and alfombras line the streets. This was to be my last week spent in the country, the grand finale to my semester there.

What some of my friends couldn’t understand was that this didn’t seem a celebration to me. It was dark and heavy and very dead. I prayed almost incessantly because Semana Santa was a battleground, and I don’t say that lightly. Every parade, every statue, every dedication was proclaiming the death of our Lord. Sunday, the day that Jesus actually rose from the dead, was little celebrated. I think I saw maybe one or two processions that day, whereas the previous week had not seen an empty street. They missed the point. Sunday is when Jesus became Redeemer and Saviour. Sunday is when grace entered, with mercy and love. If he only died, Jesus was just like any other man. But my Jesus lives.

This is just the beginning of the depth of emotion that went into that week, the depth of prayers and battles that were little understood. When I left Guatemala a couple days later, I left a country who lives in the death of the Lord, a God who in fact lives. It changed Easter for me.


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