Today, as Christians around the world commemorate the suffering of Jesus Christ and his death on the Cross, the world remains under seige by the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19). Good Friday is a quiet day, with no celebration, as Christians are reminded of the brutality Jesus suffered at the hands of the worldly authorities. Fewer Christians will be in church today, because of public health orders around the world to limit gatherings in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public.
Christians in Guyana will join in observing Good Friday.
During disasters like COVID-19, which threaten humanity, it will be underscored that God – no matter what form we serve or believe – is still sovereign. However, that does not mean that we can be reckless and disregard genuine health advice in the name of faith. According to the Gospel, Jesus was betrayed by Judas on the night of the Last Supper, commemorated on Holy Thursday.
As Christians remember the life and eventual crucifixion of Jesus Christ, one must also consider that 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 – Christian, Hindu, Muslim, etc – to provide answers which no other institution can provide.
COVID-19 has now forced churches to be more creative in the way they reach people, with some hosting virtual services. Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, Australia brought home this point when he said in an interview, “Forget about the future, it’s happening already…in this last week alone, the shift between doing things in one particular way to now doing things differently is quite extraordinary.”
One important concept, Comensoli said, is to keep in mind that the opportunity the church has now “is not just to move what we already did onto an online platform, but to find genuinely different ways of evangelising, of reaching out to people.”
The church, whether home here in Guyana or anywhere else in the world, plays an important public service role. COVID-19 has now certainly changed the dynamics of that role.
Religion, more so religious leaders, are taking faith online to ensure that God’s word gets to the millions stranded by the pandemic. Good Friday – the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary – is generally observed in a very quiet and solemn way, as Christians reflect on His suffering and death on the cross.
This year, as we reflect on Christ’s life, we must also remember and say a prayer for health workers around the world, who are putting their lives at risk to save millions of lives.
We must be grateful to them for their sacrifice. We must also say a prayer for those who have lost their lives to this pandemic.
COVID-19 reminds us that we cannot function alone, and as such, we must remember that we all depend on each other.
Therefore, we all can play our part and adhere to the health requirements and social distancing, as we gather in our limited numbers. Too many lives have already been lost to this deadly virus. During this time of darkness, let us act responsibly.