KUWAIT: As Christians all over the world celebrated Easter yesterday, the National Evangelical Church in Kuwait also held its traditional sunrise service, this time with visiting pastor Gerald Golbeck. The new American pastor urged congregation to crucify their own personal interest, self-desire and leave them in the grave and rise up in victory. “Put to death what we all want; like the messiah, deny self and follow Him, nail all your personal interest, seal them in the grave and roll over with the stone to locked them at the tomb,” he told the congregation of more than a thousand attendees. The attendees were noticeably smaller than previous sunrise services in the past where late pastor Jerry Zandstra was yet a pastor. The pre and post war (invasion) pastor died in 2011.
Meanwhile, Golbeck was invited to see how he could help to win back worshipers. He said just leave everything to God, because He knows what our needs and wants in life. “You know, self-interest, causes partial hearing loss, and that is synonymous to partial death,” He said. The new pastor also recalled the time when Mary visited the grave and found the tomb empty. “Sir if you take the body away, please tell me where you put him so I will go and get him; but he did not realize that the person he was talking to was Jesus. She only recognized Him when he talked, only one word; Mary,” he said.
“So He knows our name, and when he called Mary, who was at that time in deep sorrow so in second, her sorrows turned into joy, because God knows our names, and you know the joy when you are in deep sorrow and names are called and when you will get unexpected call? He hears us even when we whisper and he hears us when we shout. If you are in the situation right now, just leave everything to God, call Him and He will hear you,” he said. The service ended with the sharing of bags of breakfast complete with the traditional Easter eggs.
In the Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait City, the Filipino congregation also organized a traditional ‘salubong’ (encounter) to celebrate Easter Sunday rituals. It is usually held every year to commemorate the first meeting or the encounter between Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, and the resurrected Christ. It was attended by thousands of Filipinos and people from other nationalities, officiated by Filipino priest Reverend Father Ramon ‘Monching’ Atanacio. The ritual was followed by Sunday Easter Mass. “The encounter is not just a mere ritual, it is an activity to remember the suffering of Jesus Christ and the sorrow of a mother,” said Atanacio in the ceremony leading to the official Mass
By Ben Garcia