Today sees the end of what is traditionally known as “Good Friday.”
In Christian tradition, Good Friday is the day the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is remembered, as is his resurrection. In many countries, it’s also tradition to reenact the Via Crucis (also known as the Via Dolorosa or the 14 stations of the cross.)
Along his path to his crucifixion Christ encountered good people who did good deeds. The two most renowned are Simon helping him to carry his cross and Veronica wiping his face. Let’s not forget that Christ’s death and resurrection, in Christian tradition, represents hope for salvation.
Here in Madeira for one group of people, and for one family in particular, it certainly was a Good Friday in terms of good deeds. It was a day when people came together to truly give life to the meaning of the spirit of Christ.
In their own way, one small group of volunteers gave hope and ignited a little light for salvation in the hearts of a family who became homeless after the freak flood of the 20th February 2010: a single mother and her two young children, who have been living in rented accommodation for 6 weeks now, because their house filled with mud and became inhabitable.
Today, on this special day of good deeds, this group of volunteers gave up their free time; precious time with their loved ones and their friends to clean up the mud filled house. Some even brought their friends along to the locality in Curral das Freiras.
They worked all day. They worked in the blazing sun. They walked up and down the side of a mountain countless times. They didn’t take a lunch break. They were called communists for working on a day when everyone else wasn’t working. They were called sinners for working on a Holy day. Yet, they sang, cleaned up mud, laughed and carried on giving hope to a lady and her two children who are desperately trying to get their lives back.
I was one of the volunteers. I watched the lady of the house’s motivation and enthusiasm grow with every inch of mud that was being removed. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel shine in her eyes. Her glimpse of salvation from doom and gloom was to know she wasn’t alone in her plight. We were there for her and with her.
I’m not a Catholic, but surely that is the true spirit of Christ, and it reassures me to know there are still human beings on this earth willing to give their time and their energy to help perfect strangers; no matter what the time or the day.