Physically distanced, covered faces, temperature checking and hand washing, is the new normal the world over, as the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new trend.
Unlike in 2020 Easter that was celebrated amidst tight restriction and lockdown, this year’s does not look as if the traditional Easter would also hold sway.
Despite a substantial easing of lockdown rules that allow many to see family and friends, the number of infections is still comparatively high with 163,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths, as announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Regardless of the relaxed control measures and the understandable desire to return to normalcy, NCDC still insists on marking Easter in compliance to COVID-19 safety protocols, until the vaccine become widely available.
Easter is a popular festival in Christendom, often considered as the most significant celebration as it is the basics of Christianity; depicting God’s unconditional and sacrificial love for man and His sovereignty over death.
Also called the Resurrection Sunday because it was the day Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead, the Easter Sunday comes after 3 significant days referred to as the Easter Triduum; Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Easter celebration is marked on the Sunday following the full moon, according to the lunar calendar, characterised by the sprouting of crops and grasses, signifying an outburst of life; a soothing relief for Christians that there is hope for life despite the threatening challenges, Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral Abuja, Reverend Father John Jimoh, said.
President, Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Reverend Stephen Panya Baba said the coronavirus further shows how fleeting life on earth can be as thousands have been lost to the pandemic, coupled with the wave of kidnapping, banditry, insurgency and domestic violence, saying Christians must intensified evangelism to save souls from being lost to eternal damnation.
Sacrifice and love are the greatest lessons to be drawn from Easter, as “God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten son…”, likewise, Christians should emulate Jesus Christ, lead sacrificial lives in love, praying and generosity towards the needs of others, which Rev. Baba also says, is the best way to live the Easter season.
These challenges rocking the celebration cannot and should not deter Christians and the from keying into the salvation and the victory over death which the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought to mankind.
Looking ahead to subsequent celebrations, bearing in mind that vaccines are being administered, there are expectations that the coronavirus pandemic will be curbed so life can be without the hard restrictions the pandemic ushered.