Good Friday is a quiet day with no celebration, as Christians commemorate Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross. It is a commemoration to remind Christians of the brutality Jesus suffered at the hands of the worldly authorities.
Christians in Guyana will join in observing Good Friday. Christians, on this day, commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary by observing a very quiet and solemn commemoration as they reflect on His suffering and death on the cross.
According to the Gospel, Jesus was betrayed by Judas on the night of the last supper, commemorated on Holy Thursday. Today, as Christians remember the life and eventual crucifixion of Jesus Christ, one must also consider the public service role of the church in society. From a layman’s perspective, the church is a hospital for sinners, and not an exclusive club for saints; and as such, it is where people seek refuge when in need of “spiritual fixing”. With all the weight and pressures of their world weighing down on their minds, people expect the church to provide answers which no other institution can provide. As such, the church plays an important public service role within the community and immediate environs in which each individual edifice is located.
In Guyana, there is no doubt that the church – whether Christian, Hindu (temple) or Muslim (masjid) – plays a significant role, both socially and otherwise. However, there seems to be a need for a more dominant role of these institutions in tackling social issues, including crime, among youths. The involvement of youths in crime is no secret in Guyana. A glaring example of this is a quick perusal of any of the dailies, wherein many of the perpetrators of crime – petty or serious – are youths, although this phenomenon is not limited to these shores only.
These religious institutions make a difference in people’s everyday lives, and many of our churches are deeply rooted in communities. It is through this medium that these religious institutions can impact youths and crime. The church, through outreach programmes, can impact neighbourhoods, making them not only generous, but safe. Because of the influence that churches have over their congregations, Government should tap into this and offer support to churches (Christian, Hindu, and Muslim) to finance projects that would enable them to more effectively tackle issues of poverty, which in many cases are the root cause of crime. This support will, to a greater extent, encourage churches to develop a broader vision for how they might have a greater impact on the lives of people in local communities and their surrounding environs.
There is no doubt that youths of today are faced with numerous challenges, even more challenges than there were in years gone by; and, as such, to adequately address the issues, emphasis must be placed on the church, which is one of the institutions that first touch the lives of youths.
Churches, with adequate financing, can help address the issue of crime by instilling values that relate to moral compasses being missing in many of today’s youth. Among these values are honesty, respect, spirituality, and a sense of justice and fairness.
Happy Easter to all our readers!