How wonderful a time of year is Easter?! It always gets a little underplayed by Christmas as far as having its own holiday season. But the advent of Holy Week is truly a holiday season in itself. It wasn't the traditional Easter here in Mongolia without the Neuberger traditions, but it was still great to spend a few hours this week with the last couple chapters of the gospels and the Neuberger Easter packet. Unfortunately we didn't pull off any "ring and runs" of Easter treats left on doorsteps or being on temple grounds on Good Friday, but it was wonderful reading and then reflecting throughout each day what happened in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Catalyzing the study was the assignment to speak in church on Sunday for 20 minutes coming from the bishop on Friday evening (funny how if the bishop gave me only a week's notice back home I was upset).
Easter, like Christmas, isn't very well known in Mongolia, so much of my talk was based toward just on explaining the holiday in general. The biggest problem being that at somepoint someone translated the word for Easter into Mongolian as "the red egg holiday" which isn't helping anyone know what it's about. Visiting with members this week, most people just thought it was some Russian holiday where people eat red eggs. It was cool to help people understand that we celebrate not only the birth of the Savior, but of course his life and resurrection through the Easter holiday.
When you think that the Savior's life and ministry are condensed down to around thirty or so chapters in the book of Matthew and then that 10 of those 30 are dedicated to the final week it brings in to prospective the importance of the holiday.
Some thoughts that jump out as they always do when thinking about Easter would be
One: The absolute and remarkable love, patience and compassion of the Savior. In obvious reasons for the atonement and what he endured. But it also occurs to me, that at the Savior's very word his captors would have been destroyed. He had displayed such supreme control over creation in times past. And yet throughout the final 48 hours of his life and the moments before that, his love was beyond the verbal rebuke, but must have also encompassed even control over the ill thought toward those bent on his destruction.
Two: The oft cited idea of the absolute juxtaposition of light and darkness between the crucifixion on Friday and the resurrection on Sunday morning. Of course for those that were closest to the Savior, the events must have been incomprehensible. Their King, who had spent much of his ministry teaching of eternal life was now gone as quickly as he had come. He had saved thousands from illness, several from the grave and yet at the final hour had not saved himself.
Now from the sixth hour there was adarkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
And yet when Sunday came, in sharp contrast to the darkness of the previous 48 hours, an angelic messenger was sent to proclaim the news and "His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.
And then the culmination of the week, and the life of the Savior came in a singular phrase: "He is not here: for he is arisen, as he said."
The verse that stuck out to me the most this week was from Abinidai:
And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that aGod himself shall bcome down among the children of men, and shall credeem his people.