Easter in Thailand
The countries of Asia, as a part of the majority world which are mainly preferred oral learners, receive the Easter message very well when it comes in the form of concrete relational communication. Such communication is best expressed through Biblical narratives. Each Easter at my Thai church, I give an oral presentation from memory of 11 Gospel stories starting with the Triumphal Entry and ending with the Appearance of Christ on the Emmaus road. The cumulative effect of hearing the events of the passion week told as a continuous oral story has a visible impact on Thai listeners.
Another effective way we have found to flesh out the message of Easter has been to decorate rooms which depict the key events of Christ’s journey to the cross. Each room has a biblically dressed narrator of a particular scene starting with the Last Supper and ending with the resurrection. Small groups have hands-on experiences as they proceed from room to room (ie. counting out 30 coins, praying next to the Gethsemane rock, carrying the cross, hammering nails, throwing dice and even taking a rod to the back of a purple robed mannequin, etc.) This hour-long experience climaxes with the showing of a portion of the Passion of Christ movie. Distinctively western traditions are often used in Thai churches such as hiding eggs and letting the church members find them (but in this case, the boiled eggs become part of their breakfast!). Also in Thailand, a number of churches construct a garden tomb and hold sunrise services on Easter morning before the tomb to show that Jesus, “pen kuen ma laew!” – “He is Risen Indeed!”