The article compiles an international observation on the occasion of the holiday Easter, which is published below.
Canterbury/EN: God’s overwhelming generosity
"Choose a better future!", said the head of the Anglican Church in his Easter sermon. Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said the world should not continue as it did before the Covid-19 pandemic. According to him, the past year “was another cruel period of history, taking away from us those we loved, cruelly and tragically ending their lives”.
"But because the dead Jesus is alive: death is a liar. The truth of Christ is reality, we have a certain hope and a changed future", he said.
“We will get along with those we love. We are forgiven and given the freedom to live God's new life as a gift.” Jesus offers the “joy and purpose” he offered to His disciples 2,000 years ago in the same way to people today, as He calls everyone to “accept this new reality”. "God's overwhelming generosity encourages the same at every level: love, from deeds of private life to international help."
Cologne/DE: No return!
Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki stressed in his speech that after the global crisis caused by the coronavirus, life cannot go on as before.
“It’s going to be almost nothing like it used to be. We have to renew ourselves and prepare for the new situation.”
He spoke of biblical passages where Jesus met believing women and apostles after His resurrection. His wounds were still visible. But he who stood before us was on the road with them, he was no longer the former Jesus; changed. Once the epidemic is over, humanity must take the first steps in the changed circumstances. The steps must be determined by hope.
Bern/CH: “Give Light” - a digital page in memory of those who died due to the coronavirus
Guy Parmelin, the Federal President of Switzerland, lit the first online candle on the ingeniously simple online interface created by churches and their organizations in ecumenical collaboration: the Swiss Evangelical Reformed Church (EKS), the Swiss Episcopal Conference, the Swiss Roman Catholic Central Conference, the Swiss Christian Catholic Church, the Working Community of the Swiss Christian Churches, and the Swiss Evangelical Alliance.
The digital commemorative site was not launched by accident on Good Friday. In a video message, the federal president emphasized that the website can alleviate the death and grief caused by the pandemic with community compassion and attention. And this is nourished by the victory of Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead on the third day. From then on, life even determines the passing away. The website is open from Good Friday to Pentecost. Four types of electronic candles can be lit by visitors to the site: 1. a candle of gratitude, 2. of hope, 3. of commemoration, 4. of togetherness. There is also a way to light a light bulb instead of others and send it to the person we did it for. On the online page we see a map of Switzerland, on which the places from which or where they lit and sent a memorial candle already appear. As of the moment of writing this article (Easter Sunday evening 20:30), 3682 candles were lit and sent. On the opening page, this welcome text greets the visitor:
“In a coronavirus pandemic, we all experience what it means to lose someone we love and be grateful for our health, our lives, our help. Switzerland is united in solidarity and we offer each other hope.”
Three drop-down links show the number of candles lit, the messages and prayers of remembrance, and the biblical verbs and encouragements. Thanks to our Swiss Christian brothers and sisters for a great initiative, a digital tool for fraternal compassion, available in German, Italian, and French.
St. Gallen/CH, Oradea/RO: hand-copied or in the process of hand-copied Bible
During a coronavirus epidemic, the Holy Spirit of God makes love particularly resourceful.
During the first and second waves, the initiative was initiated by the Reformed pastor of St. Gallen when quarantined people hand-copied chapters of Scripture.
Within a short time, this ingenious and practical idea was followed by thousands, and in a few months a hand-copied version of the Bible, a special product of the pandemic, was completed.
The initiative was also taken over in the Hungarian Reformed Church District of Királyhágómellék as a result of our reporting, and the biblical message was copied there in the thousands. A partisan version of the Coronavirus Bible will soon be ready, coordinated by Pastor Judit Vinczéné Pálfi, Councilor General in Oradea.
Pannonhalma/HU: ecclesiastical self-criticism with the momentum of Easter
I was also surprised, in a very positive sense, by the Holy Mass broadcast from the Benedictine main church in Pannonhalma on Easter Sunday morning, and by the monastery Archbishop T. Cirill of Hortobágy. At the dawn of the Sunday of the resurrection, the message is to the women seeking the tomb: Fear not, I am with you.
Applying the Word to today’s pandemic, the preacher formulated some thought-provoking messages.
Death, passing in its virus-induced turmoil, when death is no longer certain, since it is defeated, how can the church lift the souls of the suffering? He called the two Mary to the tomb forerunners of the church and formulated it as a practical task: to be angels to one another. The sentences were spoken gently, yet very firmly:
Because of the church routine, how many did not hear the Word of life? How many have fallen victim to ecclesiastical inflexibility, nostalgia, inhumanity?
Much bolder evangelism is needed in this situation, sounded the Archbishop’s admonition and encouragement conceived in the Easter momentum.
It is a good thing to see that at Easter 2021, when the passing became a world experience, the fragility of human life due to the onslaught of the invisible army of the pandemic, if we look out of the Carpathian Basin or look more around our house, that the Word and Spirit of God are by our side. Let us not only hear, let us finally carry in our hearts what the Risen Lord is saying to churches, nations, etc. The great gospel is still eternal today, as it was 2000 years ago: I live, you will live! (John 14:19).
(Sources:https://www.christiantoday.com/article/choose.a.better.future.says.archbishop.of.canterbury.in.easter.sermon/136612.htm;https://www.lichtschenken.ch/LichtSchenken@Lichtschenken.html/72603533; kath.de; kath.ch; ref.ch)