Yesterday we celebrated Good Friday in Honduras. We got up before the sun and drove just a few hours in time to experience the artistry of the street carpets in the city of Comayagua. The "alfombras" are essentially a giant art installation that are used in an elaborate religious ceremony in remembrance of the Christ's death on the cross.
Churches, families and community groups spend Thursday night creating intricate designs with colored sawdust on the canvas of the city streets. Once the work is completed, Catholic worshippers march with statues of saints and their precious relics through the streets visiting altars representing the stations of the cross. As they march, they leave behind them the swirls of color of the destroyed carpets.
Anyone who witnesses the magical street carpets of Honduras has to admire the creativity, beauty and culture on display. There is also a rare sense of purpose and community built around the "alfombras". And despite the ritualistic and often misguided ritual associated with the carpets, they represent and kind of recognition and praise for the Savior that we can celebrate.
The tragedy of the street carpets of Honduras is that once the dust has settled (pun intended!), the celebration is over. Tomorrow is Easter. There will be no parade, no community outpouring, no devout worship of the RISEN Savior. In fact, the day will barely be acknowledged at all in most of Honduras. Even within the evangelical churches, the day will be the anti-climatic end to Holy Week and not much more. The death of Christ is indeed something worthy of His people's profound gratitude and worship. But without the hope that comes with His resurrection, there is no victory and no salvation. Without Easter Sunday, Holy Week becomes nothing more than the sad story of a mortal man who sacrificed Himself with good intentions, but to no real or lasting effect.
I enjoyed the pageantry and beauty of the street carpets, but it also fills me with a deep sense of sadness. So many families and communities have come so close to understanding Christ's sacrifice, but have somehow failed to see the magnitude and power of what He has done for us. The hope of Christ's resurrection is exactly what the world needs tomorrow and every day. And that is the hope that is truly worth celebrating. Happy Easter.