Sunday, April 16, 2006

Risen!

In Russia, on Easter and the week preceding the celebration, believers exchange greetings by saying "Christ is Risen" to which the greeted party responds by saying "He is Risen Indeed".

Thanks to the changes in latitude and longitude and 14 time zones, waking before sunrise was no problem. I decided to brave the shower situation and make my preparations to leave for church. It was interesting. Solving the mystery of which of the three faucets would produce water from the shower head was the first challenge. It was cold water and my hair required washing.

Fortunately, the two buckets provided were helpful and made the frigid rinse quicker than the trickling water of the shower head. I felt comical soaping up, shampooing, filling buckets and bracing for the cold dousing. My mind wandered to humorous thoughts on this modern day missionary's "suffering for Jesus."

I thought of my friends who expressed interest in accompanying me and smiled wondering what their reaction to the primitive conditions would be. To warm myself from the frigid water, I began thanking God for running water, for soap, for my wonderful shower at home that I would be enjoying in a few weeks. I thanked Him for western style commodes and many things that I normally take for granted. I praised Him in my naked state that He found me worthy to worship alongside my brothers and sisters in various parts of the world - a privilege too few have enjoyed or experienced.

And as the sun rose across the Eastern sky, here in a predominately Buddhist area, a praise song sounded on a distant radio over the tin rooftops. Only one word familiar in the refrain - only one word needing to be understood this Easter: "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah."

Risen Indeed.