I’ve been a bit MIA here on the blogpost front and that is only because I was traveling for Spring Break with an amazing group around Quito, Ecuador. This team was made up primarily of high school students who were excited to spend a week sharing about their faith in local Ecuadorian schools with Cru High School’s Global Projects. This trip had many fun adventures from hiking and standing on the equator to life changing conversations with local high school students. And of course some major dessert eating took place as well (more on that gloriousness in the future).
One of the most unique experiences of the trip was watching the Good Friday Procession through the colonial part of downtown Quito. Thousands of people came out to watch the parade of thousands of others dressed in purple from head to toe to march along the street. From what I gathered, the reason why people dress up in the tunics and participate in this procession is so they can repent of their sins. They believe that Jesus Christ carried the pain of the world on the cross on Good Friday, and therefore to be more Christ-like, locals walk barefoot on the hot concrete for miles or even wrap barb-wire around their body to experience similar pain and pay for their sins. I was somewhat surprised (but also not, all at the same time) to find out that a similar celebration does not take place on Easter to commemorate Christ defeating death and rising from the grave. The Ecuadorians got this Semana Santa parade, much like their language and Catholic faith, from the Spanish. Apparently the procession in Quito is the second largest only to the one that takes place in Seville, Spain.
This procession in Quito was extremely relevant to what our students were discussing day in and day out in the Ecuadorian schools. Our main message to local students was:
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Our students from the States, working alongside Ecuadoran student leaders and local Cru staff, explained throughout the week that there is nothing that we can do to cleanse ourselves of our sins. In fact, regardless of how hard we try, our mistakes and wrongdoings will still exist and separate us from a perfect God. The only way we can be reconciled with God is through an active relationship with Christ, who paid the price with all of sins. This gospel message of a free gift really resonated with people who have become quite accustomed to trying to work to achieve their salvation. I know my students from the States gained a better understanding of the local culture and belief system from watching the Good Friday Procession. And personally, it helped me to grasp the Latin America culture a bit more than just reading and teaching about it from a textbook. Yet again another reason why traveling provides one of the best educations around!
In writing this blog, I came across a few other people who experienced the Good Friday Procession in Quito as well. Here are some other sites that have pretty good write ups about this event: