For the first time in recent history owing to the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Christians in a number of countries across the globe including Zimbabwe, are commemorating Easter indoors.
Easter is an international religious holiday that marks the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This year’s commemorations run from the April 10 Good Friday right up to Easter Monday on April 13.
Under normal circumstances Christians gather at their different places of worship to commemorate this important event on the Christian calendar but due to lockdowns imposed by various governments worldwide as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, many followers of Jesus Christ are not meeting for the Easter festivities.
CITE this week reached to some Christians in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, to get their views on the unprecedented Easter period.
“As a devout Catholic, it is of paramount importance to celebrate Easter before the altar, to adore the body and blood of Christ, to dwell in his ever present love but alas this year I cannot,” said Munyaradzi Govha.
“COVID-19 has kept me away from the usual physical altar of God’s church. I will celebrate Easter by erecting a prayer corner and devout deep prayer at the hour of his divine mercy (3pm) and ask our blessed mother Mary to intercede for me and for the whole world to Jesus Christ her son for healing.”
He said it was regrettable that Easter this year for the first time has no movements and gatherings.
“On my part, it’s just me and my nuclear family. I am pained that I did not celebrate Chrism mass,” he added.
Thabo Sibanda of Glad Tidings Fellowship, said Easter could only derive a clearer meaning when believers gather together to celebrate it.
“Easter can be better celebrated when saints gather together,” said Sibanda.
“Yes I can pray and read the bible with my wife, but fellowshipping with others makes a difference. The Devil is against God’s purpose. We need to seek the Lord like never before in such a time as this.”
Gerald Mtazu of Eagle Life Assembly on Friday said he was with his family at home awaiting online preaching of the word of God by his church leader.
“Am just relaxing at home with my family,” said Mtazu.
“Otherwise at church prophet will be preaching online (Facebook) the whole Easter holiday.”
A number of churches in Zimbabwe have since resorted to cyber church services following the restrictions on gatherings and the national lockdown effected on March 30.
“Celebrating Easter indoors is weird as this has never been done in recent history,” said MaKhumalo of the Twelve Apostles.
“This is not understandable. We are forced to remain indoors although we would like to go out.”
Khethiwe Dube, another Bulawayo Christian said she could praise God anywhere.
“So for me being indoors isn’t a train smash,” he said.
“It is a good thing to gather with fellow believers, even the bible tells us we must not forsake the gathering together of the saints. But in such a time as this, we do what we can.”
She added: “As long as Jesus is remembered by his own, I don’t think it is that important as to where in particular. I’m fasting today just to humble myself in remembrance of what he (Jesus) suffered for me, then Sunday will be my usual service.”
Ndodana Moyo of the United Methodist Church said he was much disturbed by commemorating Easter at home.
“I feel very much troubled that we commemorate the death of our lord as Christians indoors,” he bemoaned.
“I feel as if our faith has been undermined. It is not considered something important. It shows that our leaders do not have faith in God. This should be the time we fight the power of the devil.”
Another Christian, Douglas Ncube of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), said he was equally disturbed.
“This year is hard for us Christians because even our Moriah pilgrimage was cancelled,” said Ncube.
“We celebrate our Easter at Moriah; we’re never used to being confined in our homes during this important time. There’s nothing I can do rather than just being at home and doing my own prayers; praying for God’s intervention in all these difficult situations we’re facing.