It is my hope that you had a restful Easter weekend and the risen Lord has blessed you with a new beginning in whatever sphere of your life that needed a new awakening. Now if you are reading this a little puzzled, wondering what does that long weekend have to do with new beginnings blah, blah, then you’re very much like a lot of my colleagues who find it had to trace the Easter story from Palm Sunday through to the last Supper, Good Friday and resurrection Sunday.
So rather than give you a biblical lesson and try and erase your amazing moments at Naksvegas, Mombasa Raha, Naivasha and beyond, let’s see if I can help you make some sense of the actual reason we had this very long weekend.
When I was growing up, we marked Good Friday by fasting, going to church for the stations of the cross, then a separate service later on to celebrate the passion of Christ until his crucifixion and on Easter Saturday we went to a late service that ushered in the resurrection we wake up to on Easter Sunday. As I got a handle on my life and left home, I learnt to walk this journey on my own — without the prodding and pushing of my parents. I began to live Easter in my own way and through my understanding. I’m going to attempt a “Mavuno” and draw a true relationship between our lives today and the Easter story.
Lesson 1 — not everyone who sings your praises is the real deal. The number of twitter followers you have or the Facebook fans you boast of have very little bearing on real life. Think about it. Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday — easily more than 100,000 Facebook likes. In the scripture we are told that “A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
However, shock on him, a few days later, this same crowd and many of His disciples would desert Him. The same people who sang Hosanna would a few days later change their song and cry out “kill Him”. One minute they were supporting Him, the next, they were ready to kill Him. Lesson learned: Don’t let the praise in good times get to your head, don’t believe your own press and more importantly, take the number of Facebook likes and twitter followers with a pinch of salt. Not everyone who sings your praise during the good times will be with you when the times get tough. People can change based on the moment and what is happening around them. They may love you one moment and hate you the next. If you try to keep the praise of people, you will never reach your objective.
Lesson 2 — Your Friends are as loyal as their options.
Judas Iscariot walked with Christ, ate with Christ, laughed and cried with Christ. Judas was Christ's friend, yet he betrayed Him. I’m not going to waste your time on telling you the background of the man Judas — he was a thief in his past, he was easily offended by the things that Jesus did that seemed wasteful and when his chance to make a quick buck came along, he took it. # YOLO! Kikulacho ki nguoni mwako. Mwizi ni mtu anakujua.
Lesson 3 — sometimes you will walk alone. This goes out to those football fans who support a certain football team and are always yelling “you will never walk alone!” Boss, sometimes you will. Let’s go back to the bible story for inspiration and connection. Shortly before Jesus was arrested, He went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Luke 22:42-44 records the incident.
We read that the mental and spiritual battle that Jesus was experiencing that night was very intense, to the point that His sweat contained blood. It has been medically documented that when the body is under intense stress the pores in the skin will expand and leak blood along with the body’s sweat. This condition is called hematidrosis. This is what happened to Jesus. However what is important to note is that while he was going through this and asking that his tweeps stay up and pray with him, they fell asleep. Sometimes, although with the best of intentions, those closest to us cannot walk with us through the toughest journeys of our lives. Although we may feel as if we are walking alone, we are not — God will always provide the help and strength just when we need it the most.
Lesson 4 — Kiss and tell and trolls on the internet.
In the gospel of Luke we read "…Judas, are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss?"
Lesson One: Not everyone that kisses you is your friend or has your best interest at heart. Enough said. Calling Adelle to whine that “I thought he loved me” because you exchanged bodily fluids is lame.
But the bigger lesson comes from the incident that saw the disciples of Jesus draw their swords when he was being arrested — in fact one of them cut off the ear of the chief priest’s servant. Jesus quickly cautioned his pals and healed the ear of the man who was attacked.
Lesson Two: When attacked, it is very easy to forget that we are Christians. When we come under attack, our disposition should be one of peace, forgiveness. We should never forget, especially in the most stressful and painful times, whose we are and what our responsibilities are in Christ.
I would like to go on and talk of other lessons, but I have faith that KOT (Kenyans on Twitter) and KOSOM (Kenyans on Social Media) will happily give us the rest of the lessons we can learn from the story of Easter. Sometimes, church and scripture isn’t as boring and old fashioned as we might have been led to believe. However, if you do believe in the resurrection, then be assured that your Easter lessons are simple yet profound. You must know and acknowledge that God is able to reverse the seemingly irreversible. Change the seemingly unchangeable. Overcome the seemingly insurmountable. Here is my wish and prayer for you — that even if you have been beaten down by circumstances, you will rise again. Have a truly fruitful week ahead. Happy Easter.