Jesus is alive!

Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.

To all my friends in the Western world, I say: 

“Happy Easter!” and “Christ is risen!”  

In Eastern Europe we celebrate Easter in accordance with the Orthodox calendar – and this it means that we will be celebrating the Palm Sunday today. Well – in Russian we actually call it “Willow-Sunday!”. In this part of the world the willow-tree is the first tree to produce leaves – which normally would have been the case on 1 April – however even here we have had a long winter … so unless someone has cut willow branches and taken into their homes, we will have to manage without willow-branches with leaves in the service today. After five previous celebrations, we will miss to be given a branch when we come to worship. 

Easter is the most noticeable and important Christian season in the orthodox context. The evangelicals have in many ways taken the best from both traditions. From Easter morning and the 40 days until Ascension Day, believers will greet one another with “Christ is risen!” with the instant reply: “He is truly risen!”. In the evangelical tradition, anybody can start the greeting in the services as well. Particularly on Easter morning many will start a round by shouting “Christ is risen” with the whole congregation responding – and it is always three times – very often in more than one language. A meeting can be ‘interrupted’ sometimes more than ten times (x 3) with this proclamation – and yes, I love it, because: 

‘Manna’ for today:
Christ is truly risen! (1)
(1) Matt 28:7