27 April 2020 – Freedom Day in South Africa!
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Peace Be With You!
Let us rewind to a few weeks ago; many, if not all of us, were in a panic mode after the State President announced the lockdown. We were all wondering what animal ‘lockdown’ is and what it will bring us. I remember the anxiety in most citizens which displayed itself in the panic buying and stocking up on essential goods.
I also remember the first week of the lockdown where life in my community virtually came to a standstill! Life revolved around COVID-19! Everyone would be glued to the TV screen watching the news for the entire day! You didn’t dare change the channel! They wanted regular updates on the new virus that was bringing the world down on its knees. However, as the anxiety levels lessened, this changed. I am sure you will agree with me, when we settled down into the lockdown, different possibilities arose. I was grateful for the rest! I did not have to feel guilty for resting! Maybe you are one of those who were happy to get this time to help you catch up with things that you needed to do months ago; or just to slow down a bit and relax given the busy and demanding schedules that most of you have.
Fast forward to today, Easter came and went! Corona or no Corona, Christ is risen! Indeed it feels strange to say Happy Easter without having gone through the usual rituals thereof! What is our experience of Easter in this lockdown? Are we like Mary Magdalene and the other women at the tomb, still looking for Christ among the dead? Or perhaps we are like the disciples cowering behind locked doors for fear of the Jews? Our experience might resonate more with that of the disciples as we can say they were also on lockdown, though their lockdown was self-imposed unlike ours which is imposed upon us by COVID-19. Whatever your experience is, Christ’s words are as alive as ever: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38).
I don’t know what doubts or troubles are rising in your hearts as a result of the pandemic. Maybe you are troubled by the impact that the virus is already having in our ordered lives around which we had to adjust so much? Perhaps you have had to close down some centres that generate some income for the congregation or order? Most of us are worried about the safety and wellbeing of our communities especially that the elderly should not get infected by the virus as we dread the aftermath thereof. Some of you might even be troubled by the impact of the pandemic on your communities in other countries around the world.
Whatever troubles are rising in us, this Easter time is a time in our lives where our faith should help us navigate through this storm, for faith in the Resurrection leads us towards a more positive attitude in life. The Easter season gives us an opportune time to really experience the mercy of God because: “By His wounds we are saved” (1 Peter 2:24). Christ is not in the tomb but He walks with us in every aspect of our journey.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
When your Father is the captain of the ship that you sail on, and always at the helm of your affairs, why fear and fret, why worry and be overwhelmed, why dread and be defeated? He not only marches through history majestically but walks with us throughout all our journeys. The earth may rock, storms may blow, thunder may strike, chaos may confound, sufferings may surround us, tragedies may threaten, COVID-19 might last longer than anticipated, and the lockdown be turned into different levels. The path ahead may be rough and rugged, turbulent and perilous and yet we have nothing to fear or fret about. Our Easter experience reminds us that God is in full control!
The disciples’ encounter with the Risen Lord dispelled their doubts, fears and disbelief for no one encounters the Risen Lord and remains the same. The Risen Christ is as alive as ever today. He is breathing upon us the same spirit that He breathed upon the disciples in that room and saying the same words to us again: “Peace be with you!“ Because of the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, even the worst situation of suffering and despair is redeemed and enlightened by the Easter victory of Christ.
As we prepare ourselves for the next phase in the management of COVID-19, we must not remain fixated on the empty tomb, but follow the vision of hope presented by His glorious resurrection. May we be like Thomas and desire to see and touch His sacred wounds and let Him hide and shelter us in them! Most importantly, may we hear his words once again, “Peace be with you!” May the light of the resurrected Christ shine upon us and may His peace remain with us as we continue to navigate our way through these uncharted waters.
Sr Nkhensani and the members of LCCL Executive
Here is a prayer to COVID-19 that we can all say in solidarity with the world.
Prayer in time of Corona Crisis
Almighty and eternal God, never before was the whole world hit in such a way by a disease.
Look with the eyes of compassion at the need of your people.
Have mercy on all for whom your Son delivered himself
into the hands of sinners, and shed his blood on the cross.
Save us, gracious Father, and protect us from this virus and every evil.
Enlighten and strengthen those responsible in Church and world in all that has to be decided.
May they support and discern whatever promotes your honour, and the salvation, peace and health of the whole world.
We pray for the healthy and for those who are infected and for their families.
We pray especially for all who fight this disease and care for the sick and dying.
In this time of forced isolation let us grow together as families and communities, let us become sensitive for the needs of our neighbour
and show us ways to protect ourselves and others.
Let us live in this world in your grace, and let our dead be united with you and all the saints.
Grant this, through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
For more information kindly contact: Sr Nkhensani +27 81 286 3137