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Easter on the Circle!

Living in the city of Lilongwe you become very familiar with all the roundabouts. Back in 1999 I counted four roundabouts on the roads, but that number has more than tripled with the development and growth of the transport network. The roundabouts in Lilongwe have always been little spots of beauty as they are large enough to hold a tropical garden. It would not have been out of place on a Saturday morning to approach one and see a wedding party getting their photographs taken on the lush green grass, with colourful canas and vibrant palm trees. I was always surprised that there were no injuries as there have been a number of times when distracted drivers have ended up in the middle of it all!

But these well cared for roundabouts would take on a different look on the approach to Easter. Local church would come and place a wooden cross on their closest one to mark and celebrate Easter. There would be no banners advertising services, just a simple cross with red, black and white cloth pinned to the wood on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. These would be helpful reminders during Holy Week of the importance of this moment in human history.

I’m not sure wooden crosses would be as welcome on our roundabouts in the UK and Ireland today, but I wonder do we have the cross before us as we approach Easter weekend? We have just celebrated Palm Sunday and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem with Jesus riding on a donkey. It was the Old Testament prophet Zechariah who foretold this when he said,

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
And he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Zechariah 9: 9, 10b

Seeing those crosses around the city reminded drivers, cyclists and pedestrians that the Saviour of the world had indeed come. It is only Jesus who could bear the weight of sin and conquer death. In doing do he proved his authority over the grave and redeemed us for all eternity. This is the free gift of salvation that is for those who respond to Jesus. He himself tells us,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16–17

May you know the closeness of Christ this Easter as you look to his sacrifice on Calvary’s cross and his power and authority over the grave in the empty tomb. Happy Easter.

Monday Malawi Memories recaptures memories from over 20 years in Malawi. Photos won’t be in chronological order and can be on the Lilongwe Letters blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also find them using the hashtag #mondaymalawimemories.

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