Easter in Uganda came and went in a flurry of hectic activity, getting ready for a week of teaching Church History at the Tororo Bible Institute. I was requested to preach in village church fairly nearby on Easter morning, then, after lunch was served to us, we returned to the guesthouse where I dug into my lesson plans in preparation for the week.

I preached on Resurrection morning on the power that raised Jesus from the dead in Romans 8:11:

Romans 8:11 (NKJV) – But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

This is a mysterious and intriguing passage to me. I have never taught on it before because, for me, it seems as deep as the sea. But as the Holy Spirit led, I taught on the various manifestations of the power of Jesus – to heal, cast out demons, raise the dead – how He restrained His power in the last week of His life on Earth, but how this power was building toward a crescendo; then how the power of Christ exploded into manifestation as he hung on the cross with an earthquake, darkening of the skies and tearing of the temple veil into two pieces as He died so that the Way was forever open between man and God. I spent some time on Resurrection morning, describing the power manifested in the raising of Jesus and forever the conquering of death. Finally, I closed with Romans 8 with applications to the lives of the believers, telling them that the power that fills them with the Spirit and turns them into the very image of Christ, gives them their faith and their gifts, is this same magnificent power that raised Jesus from the dead – it is this power that enables them to “go” in obedience to His Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.

Most of this sermon was overflow of some years of meditation on the meaning of this passage. It helps me to understand it better to have taught from it. Gail and I often look at each other and marvel – “We are in Africa! How did this happen? How is it possible to be serving in Africa?” Of course, it is the power that raised Jesus from the dead.

Because it was Easter morning, the church was full – it was one of the larger village churches we have been in. They built their building on the less expensive back lot of two lots on a small rough road access. They had planned to purchase the front lot eventually, but unfortunately they were never able to raise the funds, so now someone else has purchased the front lot and is in the process of constructing an unusually large two-story building on it, the largest building in the village as far as I can tell. The effect of this is that the church building is now completely fenced off from the access road and not even visible. The only access is to walk down a narrow alleyway to the back lot where the building sits.

We didn’t know quite where the elder was leading us when we entered the alley which was crowded with youth and children from their Sunday School. We turned into another narrow alley that ran along the front of their building and found a door in – to our surprise, it was a fairly large space crammed to the walls with people enjoying the Easter service music coming from the dancing choir in the front.

Chicken tithes given on Easter Sunday.

We sat down in the front row and began to worship. The people were focused on the celebration of this day and the worship was exuberant as only Africans can be exuberant. When the offering came, we were surprised to see people bring “chicken tithes” and lay them with their feet tied next to the offering basket, which was very near us. The church will sell the chickens typically and add the funds to the offering for the day.

When I rose to preach, I taught them the western greeting on Resurrection Day – “He is Risen,” to which others respond, “He is Risen indeed.” They were unfamiliar with this practice and were thrilled to receive it – it was something new to them. At the end of their service in closing, they even cancelled their normal ritual recitation of a short creed which is the practice in churches throughout Uganda to close their services, and replaced it for Easter with the new greeting and response.

It has been a long and hard week -difficult teaching material that requires me to study each night, some little sickness with a food that didn’t sit well in our stomachs, equipment failures which had to be repaired. Because of all this, I have not posted for several days, and even this post has been written here and there over several days.

I missed greeting you all on Easter for these reasons, but now, belatedly, with great joy I say to you who follow our blog:

“He is Risen!”