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Easter from Anka

Munich, 28.03.2013

Dear Mr. Kreitmeir, dear Lokuthatha,

And again: Good Friday is just around the corner. For me, it is the most important day of Christianity. For many people, however, it is totally abstruse, that such an event is the centerpiece of our faith. Christmas seems to match the standard expectations much better: the little baby, well it is simply a nice story. Nobody likes to talk about death, it’s a delicate subject, and particularly this death is very delicate. During the past half year, I studied the New Testament much more than I had wanted, and no matter what text I read, they all only make sense with Jesus’ death on the cross. In the exam I had to translate and interpret the following text, of which I am still thinking a lot, because it contains so many important things:

And he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, and take up their cross daily, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Are these not extreme words? What does this discipleship mean? To take up one’s cross? What does it mean to lose one’s life? What does it mean to save or lose one’s life? I had to think of you and the way you gave away your life, which for me is pure discipleship of Christ. To follow Christ means to follow his suffering till the cross. Many things that happen to you can really be described as suffering – whether referring to the physical suffering when you were in prison or the psychological suffering you are currently exposed to with all the disappointments you are going through. This is what I call following Christ and his suffering - a discipleship without any compromise. Don’t try to save your life, but be ready to lose it and thus save it. Is this not particularly true for you?

Do you remember what I said shortly before my painful parting in September – at that point I hadn’t reflected much about my words: “It is so much harder to go back to Germany than to stay with you although life here is so much harder.” This is precisely what “losing your life and thus saving it” means to me. And precisely describes my inner quarrels. I have actually everything I need, a standard of comfort I can only dream of in Sri Lanka, but nevertheless I have nothing. Perhaps you have a quiet moment during the Easter celebrations, perhaps at out pond and you can reflect on this text. For me it is a very important text with an incredibly great truth.

And so I spend this Holy Thursday here in Germany although I would do anything to spend at least a few of these holidays with you. I have so many wonderful memories, especially of the Easter celebrations with you. I remember the cross paths we made – as a Protestant I did not know that before. I remember the hunting for Easter eggs and the coloring of the eggs. How I fought year after year with our kitchen ladies so that they pricked the eggs before boiling them and plunge them into cold water afterwards. And then we always spent Saturday evening in the kitchen dyeing the eggs. Something one person could easily do alone because you only have to fill the color in a cup put the egg in and wait. But we always worked together and had a lot of fun and joy.

I remember Dilhani, who always got the best results working extremely carefully and always trying new techniques. With Saradha I always squabbled for fun who painted the best pink egg. Or Maha, who last year rather carelessly joined our decoration work and constantly had to be reminded of what to do. These were moments in which we really worked together enjoying our work and even had a lot of good conversation. Last year I was at the pond at six in the morning and had so many good and deep thoughts there, as I had in the chapel later on…so many more things cross my mind just now…

But I am in Munich, what can I do? I just left the library earlier with a friend so that we can attend a Holy Thursday service. We chose a church next to the university to get there in time. It was a disaster, absolutely trivial without substance. I considered for a long time what to do on Good Friday. I finally decided to work, because the Matthew Passion from Bach will be played there tomorrow. It’s a very touching work and I think Bach is the only one who really evokes the feelings with his music which the biblical texts intended to transfer. My colleagues are already complaining, because it is no joyous work, but rather a real passion, something people here do not like too much. However, for me it will be the only alternative to Little Smile tomorrow. I will listen to it twice, because I will be at work in Gasteig 11 hours, but I hope so much, that this will give me a bit of what I had at Little Smile in Sri Lanka and what I miss so much here in my daily life.
Lokuthatha, I will think of you all a lot tomorrow and I hope that you’ll have a Good Friday such as I remember it from my stays with you – then it will be absolutely perfect. I feel very close to you even if I am so far away and my thoughts are already a bit outdated, because too much time has passed since I wrote this letter. And too much time for me to be fully involved in everything that is going on over there, let alone understand everything that is happening around you. Surely many things have changed from which I know nothing and hence can`t imagine. But despite all these changes, I am absolutely sure that the place I miss so much is still the same.

Give my warmest regards to all Little Smile residents. Just now I feel very close to you all.

Wishing you a very happy Easter!