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Getting back to that peaceful Easter Sunday - EDITORIAL

29 March 2024 12:02 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Easter Sunday is an important day in the Sri Lankan calendar as this day has become the talking point as never before due to the  2019 ‘Easter Sunday bombings’. 
Christians would never compare man’s sufferings with the agony Jesus went through on the cross. According to Rev. Frs. Sanjeewa Mendis and Sriyananda Fernando-who spoke on the meaning and message of Easter on ITN’s Pini Viyana programme on March 28-the message conveyed by the Son of God is to spread ‘love’ even during the toughest of times. 


Sri Lankan Christians also conveyed a similar and strong message when their kith and kin were brutally blown to pieces inside three churches chose to stay calm and collected as a community. They had forgiven the assailants, but demanded justice for the affected families. This calmness was preserved largely due to the instructions issued by the head of the Catholic Church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. 


The two Christian clergymen, who spoke on ITN’s morning programme, recalled how Buddhist priests flocked to some of the country’s churches soon after the carnage and suggested the ‘fathers’ to ring the church bells. In Sri Lanka, ringing the church or temple bells signifies trouble and is a call for people to flock in their numbers to the place of religious worship. The response of the Christian fathers to that call was that they were following instructions from the Cardinal and that such action, which would be interpreted as getting ready for retaliation, was not necessary. We are aware that some members of the Christian community from the coastal belt of Negombo were preparing to agitate in response to the Easter Sunady carnage, but they heeded appeals to remain calm. 


The two priests who spoke on the morning show underscored the fact that there are enough ‘places of worship’, but queried whether there are ‘religions’; this question was asked from the context whether people practice the religion as much as they should. 


Despite all the calls for cultivating patience and spreading love, unconditionally, the first four years went without the perpetrators or the guilty parties being brought to book. The situation looked hopeless for Sri Lankan Christians, but eventually justice was served in favour of a grieving community. In the year 2023 the Supreme Court found a former president, the police chief at that time, two top intelligence officials and the secretary to the Minister of Defence responsible for failing to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks because they had prior information about them. They were ordered to pay massive compensations to the victim’s families and the Cardinal responded by saying, “Justice to victims will only happen when the truth comes out. This decision is only a milestone in that journey”. 


There is a school of thought that philosophical sayings are meaningless and will only have value when something bad happens and you can relate them to the disaster. The cross that is revered by Christians received more significance after the Easter Sunday carnage, according to our protagonists; the two priests. They took the opportunity to underscore the significance of the vertical and horizontal bars of the cross. While the  vertical denotes the relationship between God and man and the horizontal signifies the relation between man and man.


Today (March 29) is Good Friday and Christians around the world will recall the passion and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came to save mankind from sin and suffering. And on Sunday (March 31) they celebrate Easter; which is the day to mark the resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion  and death on the cross. On a more relaxed note Christians in some parts of the world send kites (this is a practice in Bermuda) and in countries such as Finland and Sweden children dress  as Easter witches. On a serious note, in the Philippines, men volunteer to be crucified, but this act is condemned by the church. In Sri Lanka, Christians have not been involved in any questionable act while ‘marking’ the Easter carnage and ‘time’ till perpetrators were brought to book. Come Sunday and this Easter celebrations promise to guarantee ‘sweet memories’ after a long wait. 


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  • I celebrate Easter dressed as a bunny Saturday, 30 March 2024 02:50 PM

    Religion seems to be attractive to three types of people (1) the superstitious (2) the uneducated (3) the ignorant. When I say "ignorant" I don't at all mean "stupid, donkey, idiot etc." Ignorant are people who simply ignore the evidence. Hence the word ignorant. Science, tells us that no one can stay in the belly of a fish for 3 consecutive days. He will die due to a lack of oxygen. Sri Lankans are super absorbed in mythical stories. We love it. We eventually get fooled by politicians when we deliberately choose to ignore the evidence. Oh, how ignorant we are!

    FredSnR Monday, 01 April 2024 07:06 AM

    Religion is about values good values practised globally in different forms not just locally in SL. There is a spiritual side in all of us (belief not just science ) There is no compulsion to practice you are free to believe But this is not about religion it is about a heinous crime which was committed on Sri Lankan soil ,unsolved or don't want to solve it? Think about the 275 local and foreign who lost their lives and remember that when we celebrate those not so fortunate.


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