NEW: Christians gear themselves for Easter holidays, but is the holiday about Christianity?

27 Mar, 2024 - 12:03 0 Views
NEW: Christians gear themselves for Easter holidays, but is the holiday about Christianity? Rev George Mawire

The Sunday Mail

Theseus Shambare

ON Friday, Christians in Zimbabwe will join millions from across the world to mark the beginning of Easter, as they commemorate the death and the resurrection of founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ.

It is that time of the year that believers remember the pain and death Jesus Christ went through, before they celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ died to cleanse people of all unrighteousness.

Various local churches have lined up programmes to commemorate Easter, with some already having dedicated this whole week in camp to remember the reason for the holiday.

The Sunday Mail Online engaged some congregants of various churches, who shared how they will celebrate the holiday.

For Catholics, this is their busiest week of the year.

“We marked Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Sunday with celebrations raising palm leaves.

“Today (Tuesday), we will hold a Chrism service, which will then be followed by the Lord’s Supper mass on Thursday.

“Friday, we will have our ‘Way of the Cross vigil’, Saturday is Easter vigil mass and Sunday is our big day, which is the traditional Easter Mass,” said Archdiocese of Harare vicar-general Father Kennedy Muguti

Holy week, he said, is the basis of Christianity.

Methodist Church in Zimbabwe presiding bishop Reverend George Mawire said to them, Sunday marked the beginning of the holy week.

“The Palm Sunday marked the beginning of the holy week,” he said. “As Methodists, we attend services everyday as we prepare the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the time that reminds us that the power of the cross is foolish in the eyes of the world, the power of the cross is the service of others and the power of the cross is that Jesus Christ was a revelation of God’s love for the world in which He will be glorified.”

Members, he said, will then congregate in clusters of at least two circuits countrywide from Thursday to Sunday.

“The major focus of Easter revival, is to try and revive Christian spirits, focusing on the fact that salvation came through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The African Apostolic Church (AAC), founded by Mutumwa Paul Mwazha will see multitudes of leaders within the church flocking the Guvambwa shrine in Hwedza, as they are expected to leave the place recharged with new energy to lead their respective congregations countrywide.

United Family International Church (UFIC) spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufa said: “We are focusing on the death and resurrection of Christ by way of commemoration. We will be having our Passover Conference from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday.”

While most traditional and Christian pentecostal denominations acknowledge that Easter is meant for Jesus Christ, some sections argue that history shows that Easter has pagan origins.

Easter eggs and bunnies are part of the goodies that are popular among children during this holiday.

Sugary as they are, there is nothing sweet about the origins of Easter itself.

The founder of Jesus Christ International Ministries in Epworth Apostle Dr Egefa Makotore argue that Christians have been led astray by pagan holidays.

“The same way the church has been led astray on Christmas, the church had been blinded by the invasion of Greek god worshippers, as they observe a pagan holiday whose origins are related to the death and resurrection of the pagan god Inana.

“Before Christ, Easter was there. You will see that Easter and Christmas were never celebrated during the days of the early Apostles. It only started with the insurgence of Nicholas in Acts 6 verse 5. His description in the introduction ruffles some feathers of anxiety,” said Dr Makotore.

“I spoke about this before and I will repeat it again, Nicholas a proselyte, of Antioch, a non-believer who brought with him his Greek worship activities into church. In Revelations 2 verse 4, and 2 verse 9, we see Jehovah confirming his hatred for the works of Nicholas and all his followers.”

Other sources say “Easter” was derived from Eostre, the name of the Anglo-Saxon lunar goddess, as was the name for the female hormone oestrogen.

Eostre’s feast day was held on the first full moon following the vernal equinox.

Today, a similar calculation is still used to derive the dates for Easter. On Good Friday, the moon will be full.

The followers of this theory believe that on this date, the goddess Eostre mates with the solar god, conceiving a child who would be born nine months later on Yule – the winter solstice which falls in December, thus on Christmas.

It is from these origins that some people like Dr Makotore dismiss both Easter and Christmas holidays.

“The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is our Passover observance, Him being crucified, dying and resurrecting for our redemption of sin. The new unleavened bread act is our observed celebration moment. It is a shame to the church that is blindly led into these acts of wickedness. Never shall we celebrate Easter as the Church of God – but Passover,” said Apostle Makore.

Elder Jubilant Masanzu, of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, is of the view that Easter is just a holiday for people to rest from the pressures of the beginning of the year.

“Easter is just a holiday to us as Adventists. It is that time of the year we take our youths to camping, teaching them how to lead a Christ-like life, away from world influences.

“We do not find instruction in the Bible to celebrate Palm Sunday or Easter as distinct holy days,” said Elder Masanzu.

“However, believers are free to celebrate those days if they choose to. But the church does not feel obliged to recognise those days. The only day that we were instructed to keep holy is the weekly Sabbath.”

With the date having been put on the calendar, and in Zimbabwe being a national public holiday, it has remained the time for one to follow their belief and either regard it as a pagan feast or to hold it sacred as Christ’s death and resurrection time.

 X@TheseusShambare

 

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