The wave of intolerance in the country will be one of the major subjects of Easter Services at the city’s main churches this year.
Reverand Shahid Miraj at the Lahore Cathedral, said intolerance and terrorism were not a good omen for the country. He added, however, that these problems were not limited to Pakistan. Miraj said that the world community needed to come together and work for the promotion of justice and peace.
Reverend Majid Abel of the Naulakha Presbyterian Church said Easter signified the victory of good over evil. He said he was certain the day was not far when hatred and anger would be overcome by compassion and love.
Easter celebrations at the Cathedral will begin a Sunrise service at around 4:30am. After the breakfast is served, there will be an English Service at 8:30am and a Radio Broadcast (Urdu) Service at 10:30am.
The Naulakha Church has made arrangements for performance of two acts from a play Resurrection – describing the resurrection of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). Other services will continue from 10am till 12 noon.
Khurram Yousaf of Presbyterian Church FC College University said for him Easter’s importance to Christianity was best that Christians should endure sufferings and not complain about them. He said Jesus had gone through so much pain without complaining about it.
He said the Christian community in Pakistan should take the attacks against them and the discrimination they were made to suffer as sacrifices in compliance of Jesus’s message to all his followers.
Earlier, the Christian community observed Good Friday to mark the end of Lent.
Asif Aqeel, a Catholic Christian, said Holy Friday for Christians was somewhat similar to what Ashura was for Muslims. He said Imam Hussain and Jesus Christ had both chosen to sacrifice their lives while refusing to surrender to their oppressors.
Easter, he said, was the happiest day of the year for Christians because it signified the resurrection of Jesus Christ (pbuh).
Nadeem Anthony, a rights activist, said he had attended Good Friday services at Saint Paul’s Church. He said that many Christians in Pakistan were living amid a constant fear due to the misuse of blasphemy law. He said it was high time religious leadership of various faiths in the country came together and devised a strategy for co-existence.
An eighteen years old girl, Naushaba Masih says, “I was afraid of bomb blast at the church as such places are not secure in Pakistan anymore. I always remain reluctant to go religious prayers since last 3 years but I could not stop for Easter as it is the day of celebrations, get together and festivity.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2011.