Christians in Bethlehem Embracing Coronavirus Lockdown as an Opportunity to Better Observe Lent

Stain glass windows depicting the Crucifixion and Resurrection. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Bethlehem languishes under a lockdown, but Christians there are making the most of their Lent observance.

Wherever you are, you likely can’t leave your home except for basic, essential tasks. It’s not like there are many places to go anyway; most public gathering have been cancelled, from sporting events and concerts to graduation open houses and weddings. Practice it or not, we have all given up something for Lent this season.

Bethlehem is no exception. Palestine responded quickly and harshly to the coronavirus outbreak, and the country has seen very few cases. Read more about the situation in Bethlehem here. For our original story, click here.

Mercy Aiken of Bethlehem Bible College has decided to embrace the forced observance. She was caught up in the Bethlehem lockdown in early March, and says, “It’s also very interesting that it’s occurring during Lent, which is a time of stripping and a time of embracing the cross, and a time of humbling oneself, and a time of simplifying oneself, and inviting God in in a greater measure as we look towards the cross and the resurrection.”

Aiken says other Christians in Bethlehem are treating the time similarly. And they have had opportunity to do so in the past as well. “The people that live in Bethlehem have been under curfew many many times in their history. With the first Intifada and the Second Intifada, there were times when the whole town [was] put on curfews, sometimes for a month, or even longer. People would be allowed out for short periods of time to buy food. And the rest of the time, they would have to stay inside their homes.”

Christians have traditionally celebrated Lent for 40 days leading up to Easter. While historically the fast focused on certain kinds of food, Christians today often relinquish hobbies or other distractions to prepare to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

CALL TO ACTION

  • During this season of Lent, use extra time to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death.
  • Pray that Christians in Bethlehem would be kept safe from illness and wold be provided for.
  • Pray that the world would see the story of Jesus this Easter, and that many would be drawn to the Gospel.