The world came to a standstill, there were no social gatherings. This was one of the pinnacle principles in fighting the Corona Virus. But our lives revolved around having cultural family gatherings, visiting the sick and loved ones, going to church on Sundays, inviting our extended family for a meal… we were in a dilemma. We set up our home for Communion services, we made Palm crosses, we marched around the house with shouts of Hosanna- it was like nothing we have ever experienced before! The children and grandchildren practised action songs, family joined us by video call- the Corona virus did not cancel the Church!
A LIFE’S JOURNEY THAT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
At a time like this where the world has come to a standstill, our faith in God has not only been tested for many reasons beyond our control, but I can testify for my family and me, even so for most of us, our faith has grown more deeper, rooted in the Word of God through His son, Jesus Christ.
Though life’s scenario has succumbed to its worst pandemic disease recorded in history, I thank God for this opportunity to share with you all some of the positives that my family and I would also consider to be historic, in terms of bringing the Church into our very home. Since the Covid 19 had spread globally I should say, a lot of countries have put policies in place to help stop the spread of this dreaded virus. An important policy to this effect, giving an example our country Fiji, would be the no social gathering or even social -distancing being one of the pinnacle principles in fighting against the Corona Virus. At first glance, this was hard to accept as being a Cultural and Christian oriented family, we knew our lives revolved around having cultural family gatherings, visiting the sick and loved ones, going to Church on Sundays, inviting our extended family and friends home for a meal and fellowship and so forth. We were in a dilemma, but God being God, He had other plans.
As I reflect back on this journey, my family and I being led by my loving husband made a decision that had made us continue to be living testaments of God’s grace and love. When the restrictions fell in place, my husband Rev. Wame Tukana, had made sure that we continue our normal Sunday routines, especially attending a Church service. So for the past couple of Sundays, my family have had Communion services and celebrated Feasts in our Anglican calendar right here in our very home.
We made sure that our home setup suited each service as this made the atmosphere even more personal and we wanted our personal relationship with God to continue in communion sweet. For instance, in every service we set up the Altar, had Vestments, the Communion sets, the flowers (for Easter Sunday onwards), the hymns, the readings, the prayers / intercessions, works, etc. and made sure we left no stone unturned.
Moreover, leading up to Palm Sunday, we made Palm Crosses and nailed palm leaves on our doors. When it came to Palm Sunday, we held our palms and marched around the house with shouts of ‘HOSANNA! HOSANNA! HOSANNA . . . to the Son of DAVID!’
It was overwhelming because the experience was like nothing we have ever experienced before in my husband’s 39 years of service, 12 movements within the Diocese of Polynesia. Additionally, when he retired last year in 2019 he was the most senior priest and had the longest service in God’s ministry which he felt was called to, to be one of His servants in the Diocese of Polynesia.
After Palm Sunday was Holy Week. Again my husband made sure that we upheld the Holy Week period with some of his own restrictions. There were no TV, no worldly music on Bluetooth speaker, no card or board games but just moments of meditation, prayers, fasting, reading the Bible and to continue on with our evening services whereby a family member is assigned to share the reading/s for Monday to Wednesday before the next day which was Maundy Thursday. These had set the mood for what was going to be an emotional Easter.
Maundy Thursday graced itself upon us and as such, the family preparations were back in play, but this time with a twist. Everyone was spiritually uplifted to encounter Jesus’ journey on a more personal level. We had the usual Maundy Thursday service at 9.00 p.m. followed by the “washing of the feet”, and after which continued with the “Night Vigil”, once the “stripping of the Altar” was done.
On Good Friday, we had the 14 Stations of the Cross in the morning and our three hours’ service of the 7 Words from the Cross which the whole family were tasked to share.
Saturday was a time for a thorough clean-up of the house both inside and outside to once again prepare our home for our Lord’s Victory. Also the children and grandchildren had practiced some songs and action songs for our Sunday evening service. (Nanna was baby-sitting a grandson inside the house and cleaning inside the house too.)
As Easter Sunday dawned upon us, we celebrated with God with shouts of “CHRIST IS RISEN! HE’S RISEN INDEED! HALLELUYAH . . . . . HALLELUYAH!”
Therefore in the words of an anonymous believer, “the corona virus has not cancelled the Church, probably closed the Church building, but it has brought the Church services home / as we the believers in Christ are the Church, and not the closed building.”
In all our services we were joined by my daughter, Di’buli Tukana and my three grandchildren and niece who lives about five miles away from us; and also my daughter–in–law Pumau and my second eldest son Dini via “video – call” as they live in New Zealand. We are still continuing on with our services at home until restrictions by the Government are lifted as far as the Covid 19 is concerned.
All in all, I would say the corona virus has brought with it a lot of sadness, pain and fear, but there is light at the end of this dark tunnel and that light is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Risen Christ…Alleluia.
“May God continue to be our guide and strength in all that we do!”
Adi Tukana lives in Fiji, where she is the LINK representative for the Anglican Women’s Studies Centre.