By Ibankyntiew Mawrie | April 20, 2019:
He came to this world to wash away our sins; He died on the cross so that we can live; He was betrayed, tortured and crucified all because He loves us; His victory over evil is what kept our faith alive as believers across the world acknowledge the fact that He died and rose again – his name is Jesus Christ.
This week assumed significance for the Christians across the world starting with Palm Sunday which marks the return of Jesus to Jerusalem, Maundy Thursday which commemorates the foot washing and the last supper Jesus had with the Apostles, Good Friday which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary and Easter which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
As the world observes the holy week, it is pertinent to view the world and its modern challenges from a believer’s eyes. Keeping up with the ever changing societal norms and set ups, concerns were raised with respect to the modern lifestyle and its impact on religious beliefs.
Immersing in the spirit of selflessness and renewal during this holy week, faithful thronged their respective Churches on Good Friday to take part in the Holy Mass, prayer services and procession.
While the holy week signifies a victory of Jesus over Satan, the question remains — how significant is the belief in modern context? What does ‘Good Friday’ really mean in both faith and practice?
Year after year, we see this day being observed with solemnity; But does that same solemn spirit reflects in our day to day action? How sincere are believers in following the teachings of Christ? How relevant and impactful is the Holy Scripture in modern world? How do we tackle the modern challenges without losing our faith and most importantly, what defines us as a ‘True Christian’.
While Rev Nathan Diengdoh from the Nongthymmai Presbyterian Church emphasized on the need for introspection into one’s own life, Father Barnes Mawrie from the Mawlai Parish felt that one of the valuable lessons Christ taught us whilst on earth was to ‘Love and Serve’.
Going to Church every Sunday and taking part in the Holy Communion does not make a person a ‘True Christian’. “He who is willing to serve and act for the good of the society without expecting anything in return is a true follower of Christ”, said Fr Barnes.
But Reality Check! In recent times, it has been noticed that believers have failed to follow and obey the teachings of Christ and serve for the greater good of mankind. Why is that?
“There have been a decline in the Christian way of thinking amongst the believers; our set of moral values are deteriorating; the failure to practice what we uphold makes us Christians only in name; there is no interrelation between our faith and our practice,” opined Rev Diengdoh.
Meghalaya being a Christian-dominated state has been observing and celebrating all the special and Holy days marked in the Christian calendar for decades now; yet the tolerance level seems to be declining with each passing year.
“I have been working with drug addicts, people living with HIV and transgenders for many years now and it is disheartening to see that the same people who claim to be in the service of Christ are the ones neglecting and looking down on us,” said social activist, Barry Leslie Kharmalki.
Barry is of the view that a clash between our faith and the modern lifestyle is what keeps people from opening up their minds. “Service to man is service to God goes the saying; but clearly, that is not the case here,” Barry, who is also a recovering drug addict said.
What would it take for Christians to open up their minds and act — to become good human beings first. “Isn’t that what Christ represents — Love and Humility”.
Jesus was full of compassion and stories in the Bible substantiating his act of kindness and selflessness is a testimony to that. “He healed and welcomed the sick, the poor, the condemned and the outcast. So why can’t we accept the broken and discriminated lots,” asked Barry.
Christians have often been alleged of being judgmental when it comes to gay marriages and third gender community and this topic has attained much attention in the recent times.
Last year, Pope Francis was reportedly quoted telling a gay man “God made you like this and loves you like this.” And every Christian knows that God makes no mistakes; so the ongoing debate is whether the Church accepts same sex marriages or not? Can the Church evolve on LGBTQ rights?
It is a challenge for every Christian to accept the changing lifestyle while not losing his/her faith.
“Everyday is a challenge; a true Christian remembers Christ’s sacrifice not only on Good Friday but every single day of his/her life; Self denial and an act of kindness and compassion — that is the true message of Good Friday,” opined Rev Diengdoh.
“Living our lives in perfect synchronization with our faith is the Christian way of life,” said Fr Barnes.