I will be driving somewhere nearly every day this month. Most of you are thinking, “And…?” Mostly because most of you will be doing the same. The reason it crosses my mind is because for the first 15 years of my tenure in PNG I rarely drove at all, and I was grateful for that. I went on vacation to town once a year, and typically spent the first 3 days mostly just hiding in the flat and enjoying complete anonymity.
So today I drove to town where I went to the adult Sunday school class at Kainantu Baptist Church. Pastor Jimmy is finishing up 1 Jn. 3. During the church service I teach the children. Today there were 6 of them: Samuel, Joash, Zipporah, Jemimah, Hallu, and Jabez, who actually decided he’d rather not come to class. I love the beautiful Biblical names. Today we nearly finished the series on the life of Christ, covering the story of the resurrection. Little Zipporah (age 7) was in tears of Joy with Mary when she finally recognized her Lord. These children for the most part have never heard these stories, which makes them a pleasure to tell, because I can join in the “first time” responses I see to the thrilling stories in the Bible.
On my way home I spotted this coffin, all decked out for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist stopping and taking a picture from the car window. Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like a coffin, don’t you think? It reminded me of a story that Dr. Dreisbach once told me from his years of ministry in Africa. There were 3 single lady nurses living in a house, and they got together and decided it would be prudent to go ahead and purchase a coffin, just in case. It seems that there was a fellow in the neighborhood who specialized in such work. So there it stood for years in the corner of their main room, with little shelves so it could be used as a book shelf. They made it so that any one of the 3 of them could fit in it (apparently they were of varying sizes). I can’t really remember if any of them actually used it.
Anyway, this festive coffin today made me laugh, just because it’s such an unusual display of how cultures clash in funny ways. It also made me think of how Jesus’ tomb (from today’s Bible story) was decorated by an angel from Heaven, because it was just not needed any more. Why look for the Living among the dead?