Lent is an important season in the year for Christians. It is a time of solemnity and self-reflection where failings are confessed and resolved to live godly life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Lent lasts for just over six weeks leading up to Easter.
One cannot but observe the ills of this world as Lent observes marking the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before his victory over the devil as the devil tried to lead Christ into temptation.
Not even the drama at the Oscars recently, where actor Will Smith slapped violently Comedian Chris Rock which was an act that shocked the world, could take away from the on-going war of atrocities and destruction committed in the war in Ukraine led by Vladimir Putin’s Russia Forces initiated by his orders.
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary observed during the Holy week around the world. During my trip to Israel to attend the Animix Cartoon festival in Tel Aviv, I visited the Old City of Jerusalem and came to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter which has the two guarded holiest sites in Christianity. First, the site where Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified on the cross at a place known as “Calvary”, also known as “Golgotha”, and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. How could he have laid down his life for mankind? Answer John 3:16…For God so loved the world…
It was a mission Christ came to earth for, to give his life, which he accomplished for mankind. Ukrainians have had threats to their lives, as refugees and for the safety of their lives, they are now spread across EU nations including the UK. Images of Ukrainians cowering in a blitzed war zone, harrowing reports, and images of dead civilians, men, women, and children is enough to hate. Sadly, without Christ, some Ukrainians will hate Russia for this and will struggle to forgive. Forgiveness relieves, pain, anger, and hatred and prevents someone from renting a space in your head.
How many times are we admonished to forgive when people do us wrong? Can be at church, in Christian homes, at work, or just anywhere. Some are damaged physically and spiritually. To forgive 70 x7 times, Christ was alluding to the 490 years that the Jews had spent in captivity and slavery. They were taken from their homeland, families were torn apart, and they were enslaved, along with many other atrocities that they experienced. Sounds familiar? That’s where to forgive comes from… 70×7 times.
When the Russia-Ukraine war is over, there will be many who would need to forgive. Let us remember also the young teenage Russian soldiers who were sent to fight in Ukraine, an unnecessary war, and who have paid the ultimate price with their lives leaving many Russian families without their children.
Lenny Leblanc, international American musician, and songwriter in one of his songs popularly rendered in churches during the Easter season…Crucified, and laid behind the stone, You lived to die, rejected and alone Like a rose trampled on the ground You took the fall and thought of me Above all.
Thanking the Lord for he is the reason for the season.
Written by: Tayo Fatunla