What does Easter mean to us as Namibian Christians living in these times? Have you ever noticed how different Easter is from the Christmas season? Christmas shows up in the store in August.
Christmas carols are heard everywhere for months, and then they disappear on 26 December.
But somehow, it still seems inappropriate to break into Easter morning – and so it is. Of course, the stores sell their eggs and bunnies and bonnets, but that’s not what Easter is also about. Resurrection comes only on the far side of the trial, the torture and the crucifixion.
Even our commercial culture has not been able to find a way to trivialise a gruesome public execution – and that is good, for there is nothing trivial about it, especially when it involves God-made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. We are approaching the Holy week, a time to remember and reflect upon the most significant events in human history, culminating in the celebration of the resurrection on Easter. Holiness is experienced when the divine and the human, the heavenly and the early, come together.
We, as Namibian Christians, have once again the opportunity to participate in some of the holiest events we can ever know during this time or we can choose to ignore them. But our experience of holiness depends upon our active participation in the sacred drama of those days.
What does Easter mean to us, as Namibian Christians, living in these times? It is a challenging question, given that so many churches are struggling due to the fact that norms and procedures have been interrupted, reducing the number of attendees to not more than 50 persons from the initial 10 within the Namibian borders. But I believe our response to Easter is not to sit, idly, merely witnessing and hoping for divine intervention. As Namibian Christians, our response is to participate in helping God save the day so that we can keep alive the belief in Christ’s resurrection for another generation of a believer.
Looking at it from the Covid 19 perspective, although the church is still the beacon of hope in all communities, there are no easy answers or quick-fix solutions to the phenomenon of the drop in church attendance numbers. Some believe if we do nothing, eventually, the tides will turn and we will experience an increase in attendance reflecting an upswing in spiritual energy. Others prophesied that the church is dying and, perhaps a new kind of church will emerge in its place. Still, others are experimenting with new ways of being “church” taking leaps of faith and introducing contemporary music and forms of worship. One thing is for certain, we cannot continue to do things the same old way and expect to get different results.
With the Easter season upon us, we will stand before the tomb contemplating the death of the body of Christ (the church) and prayerfully discerning how to roll the stone away from the tomb. While we emphasise changing the “Church” as the key to its survival, we might discover that we need to focus more on changing ourselves, our own spiritual and personal transformation. When the church becomes a place where people feel they can learn more positive ways of interacting with others, a place of succour, a haven for those who are dealing with a variety of life’s challenges, i.e. loneliness, abuse, etc – and simultaneously, sense a deeper connection with Jesus and perceive the difference they can make in their community, the light will shine forth from the tomb.
So, let us not miss this opportunity as Namibians to experience holiness in our lives as Christians. Christ is alive through us; therefore, let us join the sacred drama that reaches its climax on Easter. In conclusion, despite the challenges around us, we should recognise that our Lord sacrificed His life for us – and based on the faith, look forward to a day we turn back to normal. May we be willing to take on the awesome task of sustaining that light for all generations to come and be the change for the better in our communities