It just hasn’t felt like Easter. I guess there are a lot more cultural differences here in America, than I was prepared for, and they become more apparent at times like holidays and special events. For example – in NZ Good Friday is a public statutory holiday. That means there is no school, no businesses open, no nothing. The only shops legally allowed to be open are our equivalent to 7-11 stores, gas stations and eateries. The Monday after Easter Sunday is also a holiday – so a lot of people travel on Easter Weekend to make the most of a four day weekend. It is also at the start of the first school holidays of the academic year. There are copious amounts of hot cross buns for sale in the months preceeding Easter…….and these are eaten for breakfast, lunch and any old time really. The shops are full of chocolates and easter bunnies – but there isn’t the other Easter ‘crapola’ that has flooded the stores here…..not such an emphasis on Easter games, baskets and bits and pieces.
New Zealand no longer considers itself a Christian nation – yet Easter is still a reasonably big deal….with Good Friday being as significant as Easter Sunday. People are grateful for the long weekend, the chance to see family and friends, and a lot of youth groups meet together and have hugely life-impacting Easter Camps – the highlight of many a Christian teenager’s year.
So it has been different being here for Easter. Different. I’ve been praying that God would show me anew his love, and the significance of what happened on the cross. God came through this morning. When I was in the shower. This ain’t too deep. It is kinda quirky. Hear me out though…
I brought myself a new razor yesterday. The joys of couponing enabled me to buy one of those fancy pants disposable razors with four blades, aloe vera and the works…..at four dollars off the pack of three I was sold! When you’ve been using the budget brand of razors with two blades and a tiny little handle……well….trying out the new one this morning was a rather delightful experience. Can you tell I don’t get out much? Anyways, I am a low maintenance kinda girl. This is the rolls royce of girly razors though.
So I was using the razor this morning and was chuckling at myself over how much I was delighting in using it -and it came to me. God simply delights in me soooo much. And he delights in you soooo much. That, to me, is the heart of the matter – the reason for Jesus’ excruciating painful death on the cross and His victorious rising again. God delights in us. He wants to get close to us. Like my amazing new razor is able to get so close to me – God wants to get close to us. Yes we stuff up, yes we have bad attitudes, yes we are works in progress. But God delights in us. He loved us at Calgary. He loved us at the tomb. He loves us now.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3 :17
Praise the Lord for Easter!! I’m off to bake hot cross buns!