Friday, April 10, 2020

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This Easter weekend, and especially Good Friday, will probably be the most difficult for Jamaican Christians as they commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in common with millions of Christians across the world.

The global spread of COVID-19 has emptied many church pews, and this weekend, we expect, the familiar scenes of packed and overflowing congregations will be absent as the faithful observe what is deemed by mnay as the most important event on the Christian calendar.

While we accept that there are many people who do not embrace the Easter story, we acknowledge that individuals don't have to be Christians to appreciate the significance and message of Christ's crucifixion — that giving one's life for another is the ultimate sacrifice and symbol of love for other human beings.

This concept, which also speaks to the value placed on life itself, challenges us, particularly at this time, as the world battles this pandemic that is blind to race, gender, culture, religion, and people's station in life.

Indeed, like death, COVID-19 has proven to be the great leveller and has forcefully reminded us all of our mortality.

The crucifixion, though, continues to bring forth a symbolic message of hope, courage, and compassion which the world needs in great portions at this time, and now more than ever as we battle seemingly our most lethal enemy.

Here in Jamaica we have seen exemplary expressions of these qualities in recent weeks, as myriad individuals, organisations, private sector firms, as well as Jamaica's friends in the international community, namely the United States Government, the European Union, and the Chinese Government, have been extremely generous in contributing to our COVID-19 response.

We cannot thank them enough. You know your friends in times of need, but even more so when they themselves are faced with similar challenges of their own.

During this Easter season, and beyond, we invite all — and especially people of faith who are now forced to worship via live stream — to reflect and pray for our world. Pray for an end to selfishness, greed, hate, racism, iniquity, and intolerance.

Pray that we all, as humans, will look to God for comfort and support in every emergency; that we will render to our neighbour every kind office which justice or mercy may require; and that all our actions will be just and fair.

Let us also use this Easter season to take responsibility for the state of our schools, hospitals, children's homes, our senior citizens, and commit ourselves to accepting that our destiny is in our own hands.

After the coronavirus has run its course there will be a lot of work to be done to recover economically. That task will be easier if we have already recovered spiritually and are mentally prepared to do the heavy lifting.

We must not lose focus of our intention to create the Jamaica in which we all want to live, work, raise families, play, do business, and prosper.

We wish all our valuable readers, advertisers, and indeed all Jamaica, a blessed and Holy Easter filled with reverence for the Creator who made the ultimate sacrifice for mankind.

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With signs that the COVID-19 pandemic isn't anywhere near ending, how are you coping?
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