Dubai: Christians across the UAE are back in the churches to observe Lent and Good Friday. Restrictions due to the pandemic were earlier lifted and Christians were happy to attend church services in person.
Christian churches in Oud Metha, Dubai and the religious compound in Jebel Ali welcomed churchgoers. Sona Kazanjian, Armenian expat and a member of the Evangelical Church in Jebel Ali, told Gulf News: “This year has a new perspective, after a difficult two years of pandemic we realised that God‘s mercy and favour is all what we need in life.”
“So many of us have lost dear friends and family members; and as we celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it gives us hope that because He live, we can face tomorrow with all its uncertainties.”
Hope, tolerance and charity
The same message of hope was echoed by Jean Winter, Singaporean expat living in Dubai, and founder of Touch, a disability consultancy and talent management agency.
Winter also praised the UAE for welcoming various religions and spreading the spirit of tolerance and inclusion. She said: “Coming from a Christian family, observing Lent is about reflecting on the life of Jesus. And for us living here in Dubai, there are many implications to this as it teaches us to live a life full of true inclusion.”
“It is not just about ticking the box and saying you are tolerant but it is about blurring the lines divisiveness, celebrating the differences, and promoting tolerance of religions, across different ethnicities.
Winter’s colleague, Australian expat Jessica Smith OAM, COO of Touch, added the spirit of Lent is about sharing and doing selfless charity. She said: “In our family and in our organisation, charity is one of our basic pillars. Our moral values aligned so we can take the same path and achieve the same goals for our family and community.”
What is Good Friday?
Good Friday commemorates the biblical story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary. The day is observed by fasting and attending church services. Good Friday is one of the key events in the Christian Holy Week before the celebration of Easter on Sunday.