The bleachers look out over a paddock designed for showing horses. Today, there are microphones and guitars and even a flute set along the edge of the bleachers. Sunday is not a day of worship here, it is a work day but this day is different. Today is the day of the Risen Lord! Some hundred plus people pack into the bleachers dressed in bright colors and native costumes. There is a buzz in the air and a warm breeze surrounds us like gauze.
The dust is hanging in the air and the sky looks flat through the trees. Everyone has finally settled in, we are after all on Arabic time. Arabic time is meaningless, there is no hour, there is no minute…time just happens when it happens and so it is this morning. The musicians begin to sing and as strains of “Christ the Lord is risen today” float through the dry, dusty air I notice a woman in her black abaya with head and face covered walking along the path beside the horse stables.
The sounds of praise echo across the paddock and the sun begins to shine like a huge yellow ball hanging effortlessly in the dusty sky. The message is the Good News that I have heard on countless Easter Sundays in the past but today it suddenly has a new meaning. I feel very close to the places and events that are described and I have a new appreciation for what both the Father and the Son did for me. As strange as it seems, I feel closer than ever before here in the desert in the Middle East. The service ends and we great each other with heartfelt hugs and wishes for the new day. Hot cross buns and coffee are served and we all head off to our respective jobs in different parts of the camp. He is risen, He is risen indeed!!!