As a child, Easter Sunday was a special time, with special clothes...new or new to me! We enjoyed a family meal often together with other guests. Family traditions have not changed too much. How do you celebrate Easter? Do you have traditions?
As I travel to Niger a few times a year, I get to observe celebrations and local customs.
My last trip was in October, 2012. I experienced a time of family and community celebration called TABASKI. There are a few parallels to our Easter. See what you think....?
|New Clothes for Tabaski is similar to our buying Easter outfits|
|Finding the right sheep for the festivities-like our planning Easter Sunday lunch!|
|Bringing home the sheep for the Tabaski meal-shopping for groceries!|
|Sheep are slaughtered and prepared for cooking (note the similarity to the cross0|
|Sheep are cooked and meat shared with family, neighbors and the poor|
|Food is shared with all the family and neighbors|
|Family and friends gather-Hospitality is shown to all!|
- slaughtering of the sheep in hopes of forgiveness of sins committed in the past year,
- reconciliation with family members/neighbors for any offenses
- the sharing of meat to loved ones and the needy.
One does not need to be a scholarly theologian to see the beautiful lessons and paralells with our Christian celebration of Easter.
- Jesus Christ is our Lamb of sacrifice-once for all!
- Sins are forgiven on the basis of Jesus Christ's perfect substitutionary death. His goodness has been given to those who repent and believe
- The new clothes we love to buy at Easter are a picture of the designer robes of righteousness that all believers receive by God's grace
- Sharing the 'Lamb' with friends, family and needy represents to me the need of our sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ's love in dying to pay for our sins.
- Visiting and showing hospitality to all and letting by-gones be by-gones seems a healthy and helpful practice to live in fellowship and community!
I thank my Nigerien friends for being tranparent and sharing their beliefs and traditions with me....and more than that, they have shared their homes, hospitality and friendship. Can you wonder why I long to return to Niger, over and over again?
Ok, so I am not a very faithful blogger but perhaps there was a reason to save this post for this time of year.
Two weeks from today, at this time, I will be on duty in Niger. It will be a time of learning, working, serving, and loving a people who are longing to know genuine forgiveness,peace and love that can only be found in our great living Savior.