Easter in Zimbabwe - Easter The Backbone Of Christianity!

Easter, as the wide spectrum of the Christian family understands it, is an annual Christian festival held in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Ideally, for the Christian community, the significance of Easter is Jesus Christ’s triumph over death.

His resurrection means eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him.

Cursory research reveals that the purpose of Easter also means the full confirmation of all that Jesus taught and preached during His ministry.

Basic interpretation of the scriptures reveals that if He had not risen from the dead, if He had simply died and not been resurrected, he would have been thought just another teacher or prophet.

No wonder the United Methodist Church (UMC) District Superintendent Reverend Makono said Easter is the basis of our identity as Christians.

“For us to be called Christians it is all because of the events that occurred during this important period. It is through the blood of Jesus Christ that we are what we are today and we are also known as Christians. This is the reason we as UMC value Easter so highly,” said Rev Makono.

For the UMC congregants and many others, traditional programmes will see the believers starting their commemorations on Easter Friday (today).

DS Reverend Makono said: “Friday is the day we spend praying and imagining all the trials and the tribulations that Christ went through before his death. As the UMC we take time to reflect on this.

“Saturday is that day we take a rest waiting for the resurrection of Christ. On Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We take time to pray and ask God to help us renew our belief and souls as His Son wakes up from the dead.”

For Christians, just like DS Reverend Makono points out, it is Jesus’ resurrection that provided final and undeniable proof that He was really the Son of God and that He had overcome death once and for all.

Put differently, the purpose of Easter also means the full confirmation of all that Jesus taught and preached.

According to founding pastor of Shield of Victory Ministries, Pastor Davies English: “The holiday is valuable in that it helps us to commemorate the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus which forms the basis of New Testament Christianity.”

Pastor English notes that there are different persuasions on the value and ways of celebrating Easter.

“Some Christians of a different persuasion in terms of interpreting the scriptures do not celebrate Easter. It is not a sin not to celebrate Easter because there is no biblical command to celebrate it,” said Pastor English.

Apostolic Faith Mission Overseer Bensen Katakwa said: “Easter is valued as a fundamental event of our faith as it depicts the epitome of Christian beliefs. We commemorate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the bedrock of all Christian faith, including our church members.

“We will be congregating for Easter at AFM Bethel Assembly in Chikanga Phase 3 from Friday to Sunday.”

For Catholics, Easter is at the heart of their faith in Christ.

Father Simba Rukanda, the Roman Catholic Pastoral Director for the Diocese of Mutare, said: “The Catholic Church begins the journey to Easter with Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) when Jesus enters Jerusalem heading to his condemnation and death. Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) marks the beginning of what we call the Easter Tridum.

“These are the three days that culminate in the resurrection of Christ early Sunday morning. On Holy Thursday, the people of God begin on a high note as they celebrate Two Masses – one in the morning and the other in the evening.
Easter in Zimbabwe - Easter The Backbone Of Christianity!
Easter in Zimbabwe - Easter The Backbone Of Christianity!
“In the morning, Chrism Mass is celebrated where the three Oils that are used by the Catholic priests in the sacraments are blessed and consecrated by the Bishop. In this Mass, the Priest also renewed their vows.

“In the evening, another important Mass is celebrated. In this Mass, the people of God celebrated the institution of the sacrament of Holy Orders (Priesthood), the mandate given by Christ to love one another unconditionally as he has loved us.

“This is marked by the washing of the feet of the faithful by the priest as Jesus did to his disciples. In this Mass we also celebrated the institution of the sacrament of the Eucharistic (the Body and Blood of Christ), which is at the core of Catholic Doctrine. This Mass ends at a low key because Christ has been arrested and is in custody.

“On Friday (Good Friday), no Mass is celebrated in the Catholic Church. All Catholics gather in various locations and begin the journey to their various parishes whilst reciting the Way of the Cross in groups and reflecting on the sufferings of Christ. At 3pm in the afternoon, the Priest leads a service, not a Mass.

“On Saturday, the people of God remain eagerly at the grave awaiting the resurrection of Christ. The day is quite and the mood is sombre. No Mass for any intention is celebrated throughout the course of the day.

“However, at night the Mass of the resurrection of Christ is celebrated. This Mass marks the end of the Easter Tridum and the beginning of the Easter season,” said Father Rukanda.

It is crystal clear, from the interpretation of different denominations, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the core of the Christian gospel.

Just like Saint Paul says in the Bible that if Christ is not raised from the dead, then “our preaching and hope are in vain”. (1 Cor. 15:14).

Certainly, without the resurrection, there would be no Christian preaching or faith. The apostles of Christ would have continued as the disheartened group which the Gospel of John depicts being in hiding for fear of the Jews.

They were in total despair until they met the risen Christ (John 20:19). Then they touched Christ’s wounds of the nails and the spear; they ate and drank with Him. The resurrection became the foundation of everything they said and did (Acts 2-4):

“. . . for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

The resurrection affirms Jesus of Nazareth as not only the prophesied Messiah of Israel but as the King and Lord of a new Jerusalem: a new heaven and a new earth.

Such is the importance of Easter to the Christian community. manicapost.co.zw

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