Lent season is one of the most prominent holy days for Christians. The Lent passed by during the lockdown and Good Friday and Easter, coming up this week on 10th and 12th April, respectively, maybe the same. We spoke to the heads of different churches and devotees about how they’d be celebrating the festival this year.
Rt. Rev A C Solomon Raj, Bishop of CSI Medak Diocese, has been conducting the church services live and online for the church congregation to watch at home.
“We’ve moved the worship to the digital platform and haven’t missed out on our services. All pastorates are doing this too, reaching almost four lakh people thus,” says Bishop Raj.
The Bishop doesn’t consider it an anomaly. “History seems to be repeating, for the quarantine and lockdowns and everything happening now has already taken place during the time of Moses, when people of God were asked to stay home and celebrate the Passover Festival,” he tells us.
“We need to celebrate the sacrificial love of God at home. The Bible talks about our hearts being a temple, so now through the lockdown, every house has become a church. This Easter, I ask believers to light a candle in their house God is light. Easter is all about light.”
Many rituals connected to these festivals are now online. Fr Raju Alex, Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Church, Begumpet, would record their services and upload it on YouTube.
“We’re telling our congregation to get ready for the service and sit before of their TVs as they’d do in church. Most are happy with the arrangements we’ve made. Maundy Thursday is when people confess their sins and partake in the Holy Communion. Now, they can directly confess their sins to God by kneeling and praying. The festival’s ritual where the priest washes the legs of the people will now be done at home. I ask everyone watching the mass online to wash the legs of every family member and celebrate the festival in harmony,” the priest said.
Actor-turned pastor and founder of Raja Faith Ministries, Raja Hebel, also thinks this is a great time to reflect upon oneself, one’s faith and one’s relationship with God.
“It’s a great time for us to mend relationships with family and spend time with children, in ways we couldn’t earlier. “I wish the coronavirus outbreak hadn’t happened, but I think the time most of us have got because of the lockdown is a God-given opportunity, to spend time with our loved ones. I’d spend time preaching online and then be with my family," said Raja.
At home and spiritual
Actress Jaya Sudha tells us that while she’ll miss going to church and meeting people this year, she wouldn’t be celebrating the festivals because of what’s happening in the world. She’ll make simple food unlike the grand menu decided every year.
“This Easter should be about prayers and about connecting with God. I’d like to believe that this Good Friday will bring good news and that Easter is a resurrection of all of us we must come out of this virus. I think everybody should believe there’s a supreme power without stressing on any religion and come together and pray for this crisis to end,” she said.
Maria Charles D’Silva, a churchgoer, plans to partake in spiritual activities, pray and do charity work this Easter. But Taniya Gomez, an enthusiastic youngster, has some exciting ideas. “I’ll spend time with my family watching the live streaming of the holy mass; I’ll also make a few DIY Easter eggs and bunnies and get my family to participate in the Easter egg hunt. I don’t think anything could stop in celebrating the resurrection of Christ,” she says.