Jamaica holds the world record for most churches per square mile – 2.75 according to Guinness. Even though it is officially a secular country, Jamaica is essentially a Christian nation, with over 64% of people identifying as practicing Christians. Foreigners typically associate Rastafarianism with Jamaica, but in actuality Christian rituals are much more common. For example, last week I was at a conference about disabilities that opened and closed with prayer, much to the amazement of American guest presenters.
The YMCA is a Christian organization, so these rituals and practice are not only cultural but part of the mandate. Today, in celebration of Holy Week and the upcoming Easter Celebration, the staff had a special devotion.
I grew up Lutheran, so the Christian rituals I witness in Jamaica are usually comforting and familiar for me. Today’s devotion was a nice way to recognize the holiday. It was fun to sing along to “The Old Rugged Cross” (the only hymn I knew), and I appreciated the chance to join in the fellowship before the extra long weekend (Jamaicans get Good Friday AND Easter Monday off).
I also loved that the devotion ended with “Bun and Cheese”, the official Easter treat in Jamaica. The “Bun” is really a loaf of spiced raisin bread, which can be purchased in any grocery store. Hot-crossed buns are pretty rare and I have yet to see a chocolate bunny or egg, but Easter Bun is everywhere! It is a delicious and filling treat, and was definitely appreciated by everyone at the end of the devotion.