American Evangelical believer Thomas Dressler, student at College des Freres in Jerusalem, describes his celebration of Easter, a celebration that will take place May 1, according to the Orthodox calendar.
“This year,” he says, “our family is celebrating Easter according to the Orthodox calendar. We have never done this before. The reason is that our church is in Ramallah and the churches there have collectively decided to follow the Orthodox calendar.
Our English speaking church in Ramallah is Evangelical and closely connected to the Alliance Church. It is attended by internationals and by Palestinians. But we live in Jerusalem, where I also attend the College des Freres.
In our church we celebrate Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Easter. On Ash Wednesday we talk about the fact that we were made of dust and we return to dust. It is remembering that God is Almighty and that He is in control. We should respect that and remember He is Almighty.
I participate in the fast before Easter. But I do not completely fast because it would affect my ability to do tests at school. I will fast from some food and some daily activities, like working with electronic devices or other things that take away my concentration from God. In this way, I have more time for Bible reading and prayer.
I am definitely looking forward to Easter. We remember that God showed His love for us by sending His Son to die for our sins. He brought down the walls between us and Himself. He made our relationship with Him complete. By being raised from the death, Jesus conquered death and the powers of Satan. He reassures us that we don’t have to fear death anymore.
For me it has a special meaning to celebrate the feast in Jerusalem. It is so close to where it all happened. It is an interesting experience to go to the Garden Tomb or the Holy Sepulcher. We have to remember, however, that it does not affect the presence of God because He is everywhere.
As a family, in the week of Easter we remember the crucifixion, His death, and Resurrection. And on Easter, my parents every year hide eggs throughout the house. We all wake up and go on a little egg hunt. It can be plastic eggs filled with candy or hard boiled eggs that we personally dyed.”
Holy God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—we stand in awe and gratitude at the miracle of Easter, at Your incomprehensible love in dwelling among us, in Jesus sacrificing on the cross for our sins. We cannot begin to wrap our minds around Your having provided, through Christ’s sacrifice, for us to be called sons. And we rest in the sure hope that as Christ was raised again to glory, we too will share in that glory, both in the life to come, and now as the Spirit dwells in us. We give thanks for the many expressions of celebration in Jerusalem and pray that the death and resurrection of Christ will be proclaimed there in great power, not just on April 27 and May 1, but throughout the year when Christians—Evangelicals and Orthodox, Messianic Jews and Palestinians—gather to worship. In the name of Jesus who has come to dwell in our own hearts. Amen.