It was 3 a.m. on Easter morning, and I stood at the bottom of our driveway, shivering slightly, even in the warm tropical air. I was waiting to join a group from a local church that would soon pass by our house as they walked around town, “ringing in the Resurrection.”
I tilted my head back and looked at the stars. Could this be any more different than the Easters I grew up with? No new Easter clothes, no chocolate bunnies, no cantata, no Easter ham. Just me, up in the middle of the night, wondering what I’d gotten myself in to.
I could hear them before I could see them, their voices belting out praise songs in Indonesian. They rounded a corner and I saw them, a group of about fifty, each holding a torch and walking in two lines. When they reached me, my young friend A handed me a torch. “Walk behind me, Ibu,” she directed.
I fell into line and joined them in singing familiar songs as we proceeded down the hill of Pos 7, our neighborhood. In the two years my family has lived on Pos 7, we’ve experienced some stressful situations, and at times I was ready to leave on the next jet out of town. But at this moment, in the wee hours of Easter morning, I was happy to be here. I felt comfortable walking along these roads. It felt right to be with fellow Christians, singing and laughing together.
When we reached the main road I was surprised to see hundreds of other people, in groups like ours, carrying torches and singing. It was so different from anything I’d experienced in the U.S., but it seemed so fitting. It was Easter stripped bare of any commercialization. It was believers celebrating that our Savior had risen from the grave.