The true meaning of easter
Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection symbolises the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. The meaning of Easter also symbolises the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry.
We at Brunch spoke to National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) Director of Legal and Advocacy Yamini Ravindran about what Easter means to her and more.
“To me, it’s knowing and acknowledging the fact that Jesus is Lord. It means understanding what he did in-depth,” she said, commenting on her understanding of Easter. She explained that Jesus died for our sins and so we understand that our sins were forgiven.
Ravindran, however, observed that it’s not just Easter, but many holidays today have been commercialised. “The message behind these festivals are forgotten. It is marketed in such a way that we get revenue and profit from it. But I don’t know if people take the time to understand what the festival really means.”
Remembering Easter Sunday victims
The NCEASL makes time to help the victims of the tragic Easter Sunday incident, not looking at the difference of denominations, but helping them as victims of the same crime from Kochchikade to Katuwapitiya to Batticaloa. Ravindran explained that they work alongside these victims, giving scholarships to children, and providing livelihood grants to adults who were also affected.
“We have created a deposit and set aside scholarships for the next three years. When something in that context happens, we pretend to focus but eventually become numb inside and get used to seeing violence,” she explained.
Ravindran shared that we need to have a “never again” mentality, explaining that these people who have been through such difficulty are real people struggling even to this day and are unable to come to terms with the past. Some of these people have lost their parents, education, and homes and are mentally scarred by the Easter bombings.
“We need to respect them for that and acknowledge those who have also been courageous and resilient in this process and support them. It’s not only about giving them money or grants; being able to be there with them, talk to them, and address the psychosocial needs is what we need to focus on,” she said.
She observed that a lot of times, we as a community tend to forget the fact that these are real people and assume that they are okay, but they are not and we need to be there for them.
Ravindran stated that rather than violence, we need to focus on how we can move forward as a community and how we can build religious co-existence in Sri Lanka, while contributing towards building the country as one nation so that we all have a stake in it. She stressed the importance of questions like “how can we work together”, “how can we build coexistence”, and “how can we do things in a way that we understand different religious communities better”.
Easter and the pandemic
With the pandemic, going to church has become a difficult task, and many procedures and traditions had to be amended to keep in line with the Covid guidelines. Speaking to her on how she managed to stay faithful during the pandemic, she said: “For me, personally, going to church is not just going to a typical building. The church is about being able to gather together and worship God. The Church, in its own way, has been resilient: They function.”
Ravindran said that as much as we felt the pandemic curtail us to an extent, it also opened doors for us to become more resilient and figure out innovative ways to see how we can continue to function as a community, a church, and as religious entities.
She added that despite pandemics being a big challenge for all of us, they also bring about opportunities for us to leave our bias and hatred behind and move into a lighter soul where we have no hate or biases and we can create a new world together.
She concluded by bringing up a famous quote by Albert Einstein, which goes as “peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding”, explaining that this is what’s most important to her because it is moving towards peace, therefore building a better Sri Lanka.
PHOTO ESHAN DASANAYAKA