Easter, the Anglican way
14 April 2017
SOME of today’s Christians are being made to do things by the men of God out there without using their own reason hence some of them end up being abused.
These were the words of Reverend Farai Mukupe of the Anglican Church during an interview at the Cathedral of St Mary and All Saints in the city centre.
“The third pillar which we have as the Anglican Church is that of Reason where we are saying in this contemporary world you can hear one of the pastors saying eat leaves for things to be well for you.
“But we are saying no, we are saying as Anglicans there is a time where you have to use your reasoning, to say no why am I being made to do these things.
“There is no need for me to eat leaves to get my salvation.
“Or you can hear some of these self proclaimed prophets saying to a lady that you have something in your tummy, so for me to cleanse you, then I should have sex with you.
“Our God does not work like that; so we are saying your reasoning should tell you no; this is not it, this is wrong, my God doesn’t work like this.
“We acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit but we are saying we should also use our reasoning.
“Scripture should help us to reason too, like for me to go in church and just say anything, people should also reason, it’s just that faculty which we should use, so reason is a pillar in the Anglican Church.
“We don’t rebuke the scripture but we reason to the scripture, like we ask what the scripture says about such things,” said Rev Mukupe.
The two other pillars of the church
“As Anglicans, we are based on three pillars which are Tradition, Scripture and Reason. We have scripture at the middle.
“On tradition we are talking about the oral tradition, what the past generation used to do, so we have got things that are carried on, customs which are carried on from generation to generation.
“On tradition I can point to the signing of the cross, you cannot see it in the Bible, but we believe that through this cross we were saved.
“It’s not like we are worshipping the cross no, we are not idol worshippers but we are saying we are elevating the cross, we are saying at the cross that’s where we got our salvation.
“The pillar which we have in the middle is that of scripture; our church is based on scripture.
“So if we talk about the Easter event, we are based on scriptural issues, theological understanding on the scripture.
“So we get everything from the scriptures. With regards to Easter it’s Mathew Chapter 26 where Jesus was condemned, Chapter 27 right, this is the trial before Pilate and before Herod and Jesus was crucified on the cross.
“So we are getting everything from the scripture that’s why this pillar (scripture) is on the middle.”
Understanding Easter as the Anglican Church
“What I can say is Easter is a very important event in our church and on our calendar as Anglicans, this is a very significant event.
“The understanding of the church pertaining to this event is that Easter is the period where Christians celebrate the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“And again Easter period points to our salvation because we are what we are today because of the Easter event where Jesus was crucified for our sins.
“And again Easter points to the love of God to humanity.
“When God loved us, he gave us our Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins, so this points to the love of God through his son Jesus Christ.
“Before we come to Easter as a church, the period begins on Ash Wednesday; that marks the beginning of lent.
Crucifix in the church
“We are not worshipping the crucifix but we are giving reverence, we are elevating the cross, we are reminding ourselves that we are what we are today because of the cross.
“We are not worshipping the cross, no, we are actually acknowledging that he died and resurrected, we believe we gained our salvation because of the cross.”
“Ash Wednesday is a very significant day in our church because the imposition of lent, so we impose ashes on our forehead for two significant reasons; one about creation stories, Genesis Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
“We are told that God formed human beings from the dust and after the first human beings were expelled the Garden of Eden, God said you are dust and to dust you shall return.
“So Ash Wednesday marks the building of our Lenten journey so we are being reminded on the day the Priest or Celebrant will be imposing ashes on our forehead and ane mazwi aanenge achitaura kuti remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.
“Again another reason is that we are being reminded that that is the journey Jesus took so tirikuti nesuwo ndirwo rwendo rwatiri kufamba kuti tizofe naye tozomuka naye.
“Lenten period is whereby as Anglicans we say it’s a period of prayer, fasting and alms giving yes.
“This is Lenten period is a period of penitence, according to Joel 2 verse 12 to 18 we are told to rend our hearts not our clothes which means to tear.
“The Bible encourages us to rend our hearts not our clothes, so this period of self introspection whereby one will be introspecting his or her own life.
“Lent is a 40 day period before Easter, so we are saying within these 40 days, one would be introspecting his or her own life, we want to prepare ourselves.
“So we are saying as we commemorate his death, we want to die with him spiritually not physically so we want to prepare ourselves for this.
“Mr Doma, Easter event is a spiritual exercise, it has nothing to do with this physical element of us, so tirikuti for us to be able to die together with the Lord Jesus Christ and rise with him on the third day, then we need to prepare our hearts and our souls by tearing the old thoughts, old doings in our hearts so that we will be able to copy the journey which Jesus Christ took.
“Lenten period we call it nguva yenyasha in Shona.
“There are a number of activities we undertake during this time like we do what we call Lenten services, Lenten teachings, one after the Ash Wednesday we have teachings like Stations of the Cross.
“During that time we conduct lessons which are different to those we have during ordinary time, we normally teachings, we don’t preach.
“In terms of prayer, in terms of fasting, in terms of alms giving because the three mark the Lenten period.”
14 Stations of the Cross
“On the stations of the cross we are saying we want to have the same feeling which Jesus Christ had during his time when he had to fall with the cross, when he was being scathed. We are saying we want to walk the same path that our Jesus Christ walked so we took these 14 Stations of the Cross.
“Some of them are scriptural and some of them they were inherited by the church that we need these.”
“Palm Sunday is the final Sunday before Easter.
“Palm Sunday marks the ending of the Lenten journey and marks the beginning of the Holy Week.
“Holy Week is whereby Jesus Christ had entered Jerusalem what is known as the triumphal entry whereby people were signing Hosanna Glory to the Lamb of God, the son of David according to Mathew 21.
“People were putting branches of palms welcoming Jesus, that’s the reason why this Sunday (last Sunday) Anglicans, Methodist and Roman Catholic you will see them raising the branches of palm trees because we will be celebrating the triumphal entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
“One may ask why palms, from the Biblical thoughts palms are considered a sign of victory, you cannot raise palms kana usina kukunda.
“So we are saying people raised their palms because they considered victory on their side.
“Again the triumphal entry is very important to us because when he entered Jerusalem that’s when he cleaned the temple.”
“So for Holy Week we meet everyday and for Thursday, we call it Maundy Thursday. It is scriptural again, it’s at John 13, this day is very important because that is when we commemorate the institution of the Holy Communion.
“Anglican is a sacramental church and we have got seven sacraments and of the seven, we have got two which were instituted by Jesus Christ himself.
“We have got baptism and holy communion.
“At John chapter 3, Jesus is going to John the Baptist saying baptise me and on Maundy Thursday now, that’s when he instituted the holy communion, the Mass, the Eucharist.
“And from the same scripture that’s when he has done the washing of the feet of his disciple so in our diocese, in this Cathedral on Thursday next week (this Thursday 13 April) the bishop will do as what Jesus did; the Bishop Chad Gandiya will be washing our feet. He will choose amongst the clergy, maybe 12.
“And again this Thursday the clergymen review their vows for our Canonical Obedience so we will renewing our vows which we made on our ordination.
“And also on the Maundy Thursday, that’s when the clergy also receive what we call chrism oil, it stays in the Cathedral, it stays in what is called ambry.
“The holy oil which the Priest is given is used to anoint the sick; anointing of the sick is one of the sacraments.
“The anointing of the sick is also scriptural; it’s taken from James 5 from verse 13 panonzi pane akurwara here pakati penyu, adeedze muPriest amuzore mafuta.
“After the service which starts around 9am it ends around 1pm, the Priests then go back to their respective parishes and they will have evening services where they will do the same but what they can’t do is to give chrism oil.
“When we finish Maundy Thursday then we have Good Friday.”
“When Jesus Christ instituted this, he broke the bread and said eat, this is my body for the forgiveness of your sins. After that he took the cup, gave thanks, blessed it and gave it to his disciples saying drink this is the blood, do this in remembrance of me.
“Itai izvi muchiyedzo chezvivi zvenyu and another version says garai muchiita izvi nguva dzese, not once a year.
“Remember the significance of Holy Communion, it’s for the remission of sins, so munhu haatadzi kamwe chete pagore, so as long as we are sinning, we should have mass everyday; here at Cathedral we have mass twice a day, when it is Wednesday we have it three times.
“As long as we are sinning, we will have the holy communion service.
“That is when 14 Stations of the Cross meet at some parishes but we start our service at 12 midday up to 3pm.
“We will have Good Friday service, a three hour devotion where we commemorate the words spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ when he was nailed to the cross, he said Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they are doing.
“So we take 25 minutes or so, on that word which means we will have a sermon on what that implies to us.
“Then the second word says indeed I will be with you in paradise, this is scriptural. After three we disperse.
“We believe Jesus was crucified on Friday, we call it Good Friday yet there is death but it is so called because that’s the day we gained our salvation.”
“On Easter Saturday we also have some events like the Easter vigil, we call it in Shona husiku hwekurindira, tirikuti tirikurindira the resurrection Lord. We want to arise with him, and we will also have the service of light.
“We won’t be having these electric lights, we will use candles, we are saying we can’t use the electric lights because Jesus is the light.”
“Then on Easter Sunday we will be singing Hosanna Christu wamuka, we will be celebrating his resurrection.”