Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Hello mi neighbour: Easter reflection

Published:Thursday | April 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Hello mi neighbour! Easter provides us with an opportunity to reflect on God's love and to express this love even to our enemies.

The weeks leading up to Good Friday are usually marked by absence from various pleasures in observance of Jesus' 40-day journey to the cross. While this is considered a wonderful gesture, I think it would be so much more pleasing to the Master if we all abstained from selfishness and were kinder to our neighbours.

By taking a snapshot of Easter celebrations around the world, we note that, in some European countries, Easter is celebrated by giant bonfires on hilltops and in churchyards on Easter Eve.

In Germany, hollowed-out eggs are dyed and hung with colourful ribbons on special trees throughout Easter week. The Australian's celebration includes the exchange of Easter eggs among children. The Swedes celebrate with shops being decorated in festive symbols. Easter in Israel is marked by thousands of pilgrims and tourists travelling from other parts of the world, just to celebrate in the Holy Land.

In Jamaica, the five-day observance begins on Holy Thursday and continues through Easter Monday. Of note are the many Jamaicans who do not attend church except for weddings and funerals, pouring into church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Congregants are normally attired in black or purple outfits for the Good Friday service and white for the Easter Sunday morning service. The black is symbolic of the death of Christ and the white celebrates His resurrection.

A common feature of Easter in Jamaica is the eating of bun and cheese. These buns are usually made with lots of sweeteners, spices, dried fruits and stout. Watch out, diabetics! The use of Easter lilies as part of the decor at this time, stems from the belief that lilies sprung up where the sweat of Jesus fell as He hung on the cross.

The setting of eggs to predict one's future and the cutting of the physic nut tree at noon on Good Friday are two other practices associated with the Jamaican Easter. The white of an egg, which is placed in a glass of water before day breaks on Good Friday, makes a formation by the rising sun, thus indicating the future of the egg setter. The two most popular formations are a ship or an aircraft. That's interesting. It is believed by some Jamaicans that the cross on which Jesus was crucified was made from the physic nut tree and so the reddish sap which oozes from it when cut at noon on Good Friday represents the blood flowing from the Saviour while on the cross. Hmm!

Whatever our Easter traditions, we must remember that Easter is about love, sacrifice and forgiveness: 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life'.

As Jesus hung on the cross, He asked the Father to forgive His killers because 'they know not what they do'. Wouldn't it be nice to show our appreciation to the One who was crucified in our place by loving our neighbours as ourselves?

Make a commitment to help someone from the list below and your life will never be the same!

THANKS TO NEIGHBOURS

- Janet, St Andrew, for offering a complete toilet to a neighbour.

- Neighbour for offering a queen-size mattress to a neighbour.

- Neighbour, for offering bed linen to another neighbour.

- Andrae, Kingston, for offering to assist Kadian, St Ann, to start small business.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR HELPING

Meeka, St Andrew, unemployed mother of four asking for a combi-robe.

- Rose, St Catherine, unemployed, asking neighbours for a little assistance to start rearing chickens.

- Kerryan, St Andrew, mother of five, unemployed. Caring for her own mother who got a stroke. Asking neighbours for a second-hand computer to start online business.

- Neighbour, St Andrew, Trying woman - asking neighbours for a straight-stitch industrial sewing machine.

To help, please call 334-8165, 884-3866, 299-3412 or deposit to acct # 351 044 276 NCB. (Bank routing #: JNCBJMKX) or send donations to Hello Neighbour c/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; email helloneighbour@yahoo.com.