Iram Mustafa Islamabad Pakistan
Easter 2020: Amidst the great Pandemic
The Lenten Season is “The Celebratory Season” among the followers of Christianity in Pakistan and around the globe. Though this time the season of festivities is plagued by the Covid 19 Crisis, as it overlaps an effective timeline of what is predicted to be the Century’s greatest Pandemic. The Lenten season; that in general is associated with devotion and gratitude, this year is actually demanding both devotion and gratitude in its verbatim from the believers. During the global health crisis multiple countermeasures have been devised at national and international level to cope with the ongoing health emergency including suppressing the spread of a virus and preventing the increase in mortality rate.
Amid the stretched lent, a period of 40 days starting from Ash Wednesday certainly felt longer and strenuous than any other lent most have observed in their lifetime. With the arrival of Covid 19, the concept of social distancing has become more and more lucid. May be it is the right time for us to realize the true essence behind practicing abstinence and not just because its Lenten season but also because this great calamity the world is facing if taught us something, that is abstinence, devotion, gratitude and above all patience. The word social distancing have gone viral since Covid 19 though its actually physical distancing that needs to be maintained and people can still socialize through social networks all thanks to the technology for providing with the user friendly means of communicating.
A silver lining through the pandemic is that the solitude brought upon the mankind by addressing the measures taken to counter Covid 19 has presented itself as an opportunity to review life in a broader perspective and comprehend its relativistic volatility. Perhaps we are too used to have things go our way and retaliate when they don’t. God, perhaps has given this chance to mankind for revisiting the ideology of life, nature and its workings, and to contemplate that may be we have taken this too far and for granted. We, who have forgotten the spirit of forgiveness and sharing yet we expect forgiveness and brotherhood, in these difficult times when we shall seek assistance of the holy scriptures to revitalize our spirit and mind by catering to the needs our kind than just being petty money hoarders.
Lenten Season, Holy week, Good Friday and the Holy Month of Ramadan all celebrates the concept of revitalizing one’s soul. Jesus Christ, Hazrat Ali (RA) and Holy Prophet (PBUH) all brought along the message of patience, brotherhood and peace. Perhaps our growing comfort zones has made us unable to see something as clear as a day, perhaps we were too lenient on ourselves so is it not the time yet for human kind to ponder upon the matters that otherwise go unheard in the noise of our daily affairs. May be the mother Earth is signaling a warning as many species and great civilizations of the past have perished and gone extinct so what if the nature has decided to heal itself by disrupting our so called multidimensional comfort zones. Comfort zones that we have successfully created around us and raised the bars around the parts where we fit in.
Let us serve this predicament as a reminder to us all that in comfort no one finds a Dime. It is high time to get out of the vicious cycle of self-gratification and start working towards introspection. One thing that emerged out of this pandemic is that God do not need our devotion and gratitude but we humans do, as we struggle to survive against this global health uncertainty and let this be a lesson for us all to face many more challenges that life has yet to unveil. Let this be a cure for our bruised souls and battered selves with the hope that we emerge triumphant out of this global crisis. It is indeed times like today that calls for a united front against a common foe. It does not matter if we cannot join hands, though it does matter that we all come together in spirit to stand against the global and national politico-economical and socio-psychological challenges Covid 19 Pandemic has presented us with. The right attitude matters.
With the restriction on gathering, the time has deprived our Christian brothers and sisters of commemorating the Holy Week when they cannot visit the churches or hold sermons or ceremonial events to celebrate Easter with all its festivities. The idea of Traditional Easter Revelries might not sound best during the time of distress, so it doesn’t have to be traditional. Many around the world are celebrating a Digital Easter where churches and related places of worship are now reconnecting with their congregations online through the use of technology including Zoom and Google hangouts. Social distancing on account of Covid 19 has pushed Spirituality essentially to a newer level where spiritual leaders are opting a virtual realm for sermons through live streaming. The use of the technology might not be new to all but the fact that they have to sustain a community on a virtual platform is equally challenging to all. So where it’s a mutual consensus that it’s new for all and indeed difficult to realize Holy Week Commemoration and Easter Celebrations in a traditional manner though it is also unanimously argued that it is even more important than ever to revive the Spirit of Easter in times like these.