Eric and I were privileged to attend a Good Friday service held at Iglesia Menonita de Berna. All of the Mennonite churches in the Bogota region were invited. Each church was encouraged to share a 10 minute piece (drama, song, dance, etc…), then we heard a meditation from Pedro Stucky and had a time of praise through singing. Pedro spoke out of Ephesians 2 and talked about removing the barriers we have between individuals, groups of people, countries, etc… It was a sermon that promoted the Church’s call to peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.
Our church’s participation was displaying an acrostic of “JESUS ES EL SALVADOR.” I don’t remember all of the sentences that went with the letters, but Eric had A: “Amor del mundo.” and I had S: “Sal del mundo.” Our phrases meant love of the world and salt of the world. The following pictures are of some of the other church groups we saw. (You can click on the picture to see a caption and enlarge the photo.)
It was a wonderful time of fellowship with other mennonites. We drank tinto (coffee) and were offered cold meat sandwiches. Afterward we went to a family’s house for dinner, wii ping-pong, and movies! Also as a side note/fun fact for all the Bernese out there: we think we learned that some missionaries from Berne, Indiana helped to start Iglesia Menonita de BERNA. As the church grew and the area around it grew, people began to name the area surrounding the church Berna. So, now there exists a section of Bogota that is called Berna after Berne, IN…
On Saturday Eric and I visited Parque de los Novios. (Park of the Couples). Many people leave the city over Holy week to visit family or take vacations. So we felt like we had the city to ourselves! (Not really, but the traffic was much lighter than normal and the transmilenio wasn’t near as full of people as usual!) The park was beautiful and we plan to return for a BBQ on a sunnier day. Unfortunately we did not take pictures…
Easter Sunday. Eric and I walked to church as usual. We were asked to plan a drama for Sunday, so we translated a play (with the help of our Spanish teacher) that we found from the Mennonite Church Canada resources online. It included Maria Magdelena, Maria la Madre de Jacobo, Juana y Salome–women witnesses to Jesus’ empty tomb. I asked 4 women from the congregation to read the parts. We also re-created our acrostic from Good Friday 🙂
Yalile Caballero gave the sermon and concentrated on teaching the children. She had them read various scriptures and had them participate in the sermon. Her emphasis was that the children need to know this important part of our story, and talked about the gifts we receive in Jesus’ resurrection: we are a new creation, forgiveness of sins, justice, love, salvation and eternal life.
After church we had tinto, a lunch together, and a birthday party with games and snacks!
We cannot say that we didn’t miss spending Easter with our family and friends and church community from home, but we did enjoy celebrating with our new community in their traditions. We are grateful for the community we have here and rejoice that we can all celebrate this special part of our story, that Jesus came to this earth, showing us how life and love can overcome the power of death.