Dear Fellow Readers,
Let me first of all thank the NHS, Care, Police, Emergency, the Military, Community and Social Services workers, our Political leaders, all local volunteers, neighbours and praying believers; all doing everything to keep us safe, sane and healthy; often at the expense of their own comforts and family life enjoyment as we fight COVID-19.
Clearly, Lent and Easter 2020 is different from previous years. This is mainly because of the effects of COVID-19, which has caused the sufferings, losses of life, the negative impact to various economic players in our country and globally. Then there are regulations on movements, social distancing, and gatherings of all kinds, not least, Church meetings.
Different as this year’s observance and celebration is, Lent and Easter climaxes in hope, life and joy. In fact, because of what Lent stands for, namely the offering and sacrifice of Jesus our Lord that resulted in our being set free from bondage to sin, this season is a season of great joy from start to finish.
Who would not be happy for being set free? Think about people who have been taken hostage. Have you noticed how happy they, their families and friends are upon being given back their freedom by their rescuers? They rejoice because God made human beings to be free.
The Lent and Easter season reminds us about the mission of Jesus on earth. During his ministry on earth, he stated that he came to seek and to save the lost by giving his life over in death as a ransom which he gave to the Father. He did this when he was put on the cross. In finding us sinners, Jesus brings us life and freedom. He said in the gospel of John chapter 8 verse 36: ‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’
I want to remind you that there is no healing where there is no illness, no forgiveness where there hasn’t been wrong doing, no comfort where there is no suffering, and no resurrection where there is no death. The current global situation bears witness to this fact.
Thus, Easter resurrection was only possible because Jesus died, which is what Lent is about and leads to.
As we live through this dreadful global pandemic that has invaded our human family, we are without any doubt facing a “death” situation in our lives, churches, families and businesses. Nevertheless, God be praised, we can look forward to a resurrection experience. The Lent and Easter season calls us to have hope and joy. It is a time not to be afraid, but to be bold and courageous. It is a season to expect God to bring to life in and through us the hopes that have probably died. It is a time for hope and for joy!
Finally, be responsible, stay safe, keep others safe, keep praying, look to the one who rose again from the dead, Jesus our Saviour and Lord.
Revd. Joseph Tembo