21 April 2014

Tanzania: Peace, Unity Calls Ring At Easter

MESSAGES of love, peace, unity and prosperity rang across many pulpits all over the country at the weekend, where thousands of worshippers congregated for the Easter Eve and Easter Sunday mass.

In Dar es Salaam, the Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, trumped wisdom for personal gratification and welfare of the nation at large.

He reminded the faithful of the obligation to care for each other and avoid egoistic attitude of accumulation of wealth, which he noted created disunity.

"True comfort in life is not determined by the amount of wealth accumulated, but rather the degree of personal commitment to protect other people's lives.

The message of resurrection is all about appeasement and humility," Cardinal Pengo said in his Easter Eve sermon at Saint Joseph's Cathedral in the city.

On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ as according to the Christian faith and the scriptures, Jesus was raised from the dead three days after his death on the cross. The top cleric further warned against the spirit of retaliation.

He said worshippers should learn from Jesus who after coming back to life, decided not to seek revenge but rather forgave those who persecuted and killed him.

"After he had risen from the dead, Jesus did not torment the antagonists as some of the people would do today. Again there should be no push or application of force to make others follow your faith.

Peace, tolerance and fear of God must prevail for the comfort of the society," he insisted. As prayers were in session, security around churches was intensified.

Local security guards mounted defence in support of the police surveillance to restrain acts of violence or infringement of laws. Reverend Bryceson Kitoi of the Tanzania Assemblies of God in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam, spoke strongly against corruption, witchcraft belief and misappropriation of public resources.

Referring to the scriptures, the cleric said the disciples were initially frightened but gained confidence and strength after they had seen Jesus.

"Tanzanians should stop adoring corruption or dwell in sorcery, but should rather abide by God's teachings for mental, physical and spiritual liberty," Reverend Kitoi counselled. The cleric added that the power of resurrection meant atoning for one's sins.

"People must give a chance to Godly wisdom before embarking in serious decisions that will shape own destiny. Broken marriages, corruption, burglary and other crimes are a result of lack of fear to God -- and certainly they are wrong decisions in life," Rev Kitoi observed.

Drawing a lesson from the flash floods recently experienced in Dar es Salaam, claiming dozens of lives, the cleric said some of the victims were rescued by fellow human beings.

He urged worshippers and non-worshippers to accept the divine redemption and wisdom offered for the well-being of the nation.

In the early hours of the day, Reverend Dr Vernon Fernandes of the Agape World Ministries Tanzania conducted a seminar on cleansing of generations and deliverance of families, insisting that worshippers should realise the power of the cross and embrace God's teachings for true understanding in life.

He said many had been the times when he (Fernandes) took personal initiative to talk to legislators, ministers or other persons entrusted with higher positions in the government and advised them on the way out on issues of national interest.

Rev Sebastian Lemnge of the Roman Catholic Church in Manzese said the Easter season offered the opportunity for reconciliation, forgiveness and settlement of difference of opinion as well.

He urged UKAWA members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) not to boycott sessions and instead return to the negotiating table for the nation to enact a well thought-out constitution.

"Soldiers do not run away from the battle field even if war intensifies. The opposition should go back to the parliament to represent the rest of the nation. Staying away from the assembly was not the right decision to take," Rev Lemnge observed.

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