GOOD FRIDAY: Christians the world over today remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The events of the week bring together the Jewish tradition of Passover and the Eucharist celebration of the Last Supper that Christians continue today. We remember how profound religious belief met unbending secular authority in the Messiah’s submission to Roman rulers but also in his ultimate triumph over even this life itself.
“The most dangerous idea in human history and philosophy remains the belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and rose from the dead,” Peter Hitchens told an audience (that laughed) at the Sydney Opera House last year. But he continued, “It alters the whole of human behavior and all our responsibilities. It turns the universe from a meaningless chaos into a designed place in which there is justice and there is hope and, therefore, we all have a duty to discover the nature of that justice and work towards that hope. It alters us all.”
Here is a look at commemorations in Jerusalem; Nigeria, where Christians are mourning the deaths of about 200 this week and the kidnapping of over 100 girls who remain missing from a school in Borno state; and Afghanistan, where even expat believers will not gather together this Easter weekend due to the danger (a hint why here).
In Baghdad, a group of Christians, Muslims, and Jews came together to celebrate Seder (no photos or link for obvious reasons: Only six Jews are left in Iraq).
RWANDA: With the anniversary of Rwanda’s genocide beginning also on Easter, The Associated Press and National Geographic photographer David Guttenfelder has a moving photo essay showing how churches became death traps.
CHINA: Also upcoming is the 25th anniversary of the start of the Tiananmen Square protests. Massive uprisings also took place in dozens of cities outside Beijing. The People’s Republic of Amnesia, by Louisa Lim, is a profound look at what happened in Chengdu—now a city of 14 million—while Tiananmen captured the world’s attention. From Lim, we also learn how Westerners, including diplomats, watched the brutality unfold:
"Over the past quarter-century, the events of those seven hot summer weeks across China have become telescoped into one single word: Tiananmen. That shorthand has narrowed the geographic scope of events to the capital, relegating the massive protest movements in dozens of other cities to silence. But Beijing’s demonstrations were not the only ones, nor were they the only ones to be suppressed. What happened in 1989 was a nationwide movement, and to allow this to be forgotten is to minimize its scale."