Today is our first Easter in Taiwan, but it doesn’t quite feel like Easter.  I was reminded once again what a blessing it is to be in America where Christian truths & values still permeate in its morality & traditions.  It’s true that there are many things around Easter out of commercialism, but we miss those things too.  There were no pastel colors, white lilies, bunnies, baskets with plastic eggs and grass, not even peeps (marshmallow chicks) which added to the Easter experience before.  Not much around about Easter, but this weekend was a special one for the Taiwanese.  They observe a national holiday called Tomb Sweeping Day.  Since it fell on a Sunday, many had a 4 day weekend.  Many people left for a trip before the weekend so our neighborhood and even our church felt relatively empty.

Our Easter service was a combined service where the 1st Generation Taiwanese speakers & younger generation of Mandarin speakers worshipped together.  I was somewhat disappointed because the whole service was done in Taiwanese, which explained why most of the young people didn’t attend.  It doesn’t matter where we are, what happened at the Tower of Babel continues to divide people, cultures & generations.  It is our prayer that young generation will be captivated by the message of the cross & new leaders emerge in Taiwanese society.  I will write about it more later, but this month we have a couple of opportunities to first meet with some Taiwanese campus Christian workers & second with nearby university staff.  It is our hope & prayer that God will give us a better understanding of what our place & purpose will be here in Taiwan.

Although 2-1/2 hour long service was in Taiwanese, which by the way sounds completely different than Mandarin, it was, nevertheless, a blessing to be in God’s presence with His people praising our Risen Savior!  Every time I heard the name of Jesus in Taiwanese, the power of His Name touched my spirit.  Throughout the service it felt as though the Holy Spirit was convicting my heart concerning what I have been struggling with lately.  It is God’s call to die to self not partially but completely.

Jesus was able to embrace the humiliation & pain of the cross because He had made up His mind to die for us.  That is to say, He has let go of all things such as His right as the Son of God & all the privileges that came with that position, just so that we may be forgiven & live.  Redemptive equation is that when we die, others live.  Jesus Himself explains in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  But in order for our dying to self to bring redemptive blessing to others, it has to be complete.  We cannot be holding on to anything, but if I am honest with myself, I still have grips on pride, selfishness, worries, fear & even past wounds & hurts.

The reason why Jesus died on the cross was to make all things new!  And His call for us to die is also so that as a new creation in Christ we may live humbly & love powerfully.  That is my heart’s desire, and yet my old self lingers…  But this may be why Jesus’ call to die to self is so ingenious because to a dying man only two things matter… life & love.  Therefore it is only in our daily & moment by moment dying to self that we can see what truly matters in eternity.  Jesus also explains in Luke 9:24, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

It is my hope & prayer that I will be a dead man living & loving.