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A letter from John McCall in Taiwan

March - Easter Reflection 2013

Dear Friends,

Empty tomb built by a seminary student for Easter worship

On Wednesday as I was teaching at the seminary in Taipei the windows started to rattle.  The ceiling fans began to shake and the ground moved beneath our feet.  One of the students said, "Earthquake!"  I stopped my lecture and we waited with that sick feeling to see how long it would last.  The building continued to sway and then it stopped.  We later learned that the 6.1 epicenter was in the middle of the island and the shaking was felt as far away as Hong Kong and southern China.  One woman was killed when the wall of a temple fell on her and many school children were injured as library books and shelves fell on them.  Thankfully it was not worse.

As I prepared my Easter sermon that afternoon, I was struck again that Easter begins with an earthquake.  The ground shakes, the guards shake, the women shake.  Everything and everybody shakes because God is doing a dramatically new thing.  Resurrection shakes us up and brings in new life, new hope, and a new beginning when there seems to be no way out.

Last night I preached at the seminary's Maundy Thursday service.  As an aboriginal student sang "Were You There?" in Taiwanese, Mandarin, and English another student climbed up a tall ladder to drape a black cloth on the chapel's cross.  Christ is killed by the world's power and they [the powerful] think they have the last word.  Christ on the cross seems to communicate failure.  But the earth shakes and the powerful are afraid.  God has the last word and that word is life.

It is that word of life that churches here will be proclaiming on Sunday.  In this non-Christian land the church shouts, "Don't be afraid, for Christ is risen."  May the power, joy, and hope of new life fill your hearts and your days!

Easter blessings,

John McCall

The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 214
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