Dubai: Christians in the UAE join millions of others around the world today (Sunday) in reflecting on Jesus Christ’s sacrifices and praying for world peace at Easter services in churches.
Many began their celebrations just before sunrise by going to church or gathering in fellowship to mark the event that dates back about 2,000 years. Easter celebrates Christ’s resurrection after his crucifixion, which forms the foundation of the Christian faith.
Father Lennie J.A. Connully, parish priest at St Mary’s Catholic Church, told Gulf News that the Holy Week is a remembrance of the life of Christ and his sacrifices.
“Jesus gave himself over for sinners, for the reconciliation of the world with God so that by his death, he would redeem humanity. All that we thought we lost on Good Friday came back to us with greater interest on Easter Sunday,” he said.
Praising the UAE’s tolerant society, he added: “The Rulers of the UAE have welcomed us. Therefore, it’s our duty to give back to the country for all the good things given us.”
Pastor Jim Burgess, lead pastor of the Fellowship Church, said the resurrection is a call for action for all Christians.
“On a Sunday, God raised Jesus Christ. Death could not hold him. That is why every Easter Sunday we celebrate. We believe one day we will see Christ again and we want him to be pleased with us. We do this out of love for what he did for us,” Pastor Burgess said.
Rev John Qadir, responsible for the Gulf region of New Apostolic Church, said: “When Jesus was crucified, he taught us to forgive each other as He forgave those who crucified him. If we are true followers of Jesus, we will forgive our enemies and live in peace with everyone, which is the core essence of tolerance, and follow Jesus’ footsteps. This is our duty.”
Rev Harrison Chinnakumar, chaplain of Holy Trinity Church Dubai, echoed Rev Qadir’s thoughts. “God’s love was revealed on the cross. This is where we receive our forgiveness, our hope that we can be forgiven and we can start a new life,” he said.
What Easter means to residents:
“Easter for me is the true meaning of God’s mercy and love to His people. Through Jesus’ resurrection, I am reminded of a Father who will give everything, including His Son, to save me from my sins. It always excites me to celebrate Easter after more than a month of fasting. Deep prayers (on retreats) and more works of mercy especially to overseas Filipino workers who are struggling while working away from their loved ones. It reminds me, too, to share mercy and love.”
– Rachel Salinel, Filipina
“Easter is the time to celebrate our living God. In Arabic we say Allah hay! Worshipping a living God gives you strength, the confidence that He hears our prayers — He sees us, He feels how we feel, and most importantly, he is close to us and empowers us to live as an ambassador for Him. We declare that He has risen to be in relationship with us, as He saved us by His death on the cross so that we can love knowing that our Abba Father is alive.”
- Sona Kazanjian from Fellowship Church
“For me, every day is Easter. When Jesus lived on earth, He gave His disciples the power to go and heal and perform the works that He did. We are disciples of Jesus and it is our duty to tell the world that He is risen. That’s the reason I do this, the reason why I go and visit the sick to pray for them because I have experienced the love and power of Jesus in my life and I want to share this truth.”
- Anitha Pereira, Indian