Give Repentance Day the respect it deserves

Editorial

MONDAY is a public holiday and that is in lieu of Aug 26 – National Repentance Day – which falls on a Sunday.
The turnout at past National Repentance Day activities has always been disappointing.
This religious holiday was established in 2011 by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Originally Repentance Day was intended to be a day of Christian prayer.
People should go to church to pray and ask the Lord to forgive their nation for all the wrongs that have been done.
While the Muslims of Papua New Guinea did not object to having a repentance day, they reminded us that there should repentance every time there is a need for reconciliation – and not once a year only. The churches throughout the country hold prayer ceremonies on this day.
Ceremonies around the country should be attended by national leaders, church leaders and representatives of the provinces.
Whatever events are organised on the day should be attended by thousands – regardless of which day it falls on. And it should be observed by shutting down all business operations.
It is just one day in the year when everyone should join hands in prayer for PNG.
The day represents a call for everyone to think seriously about the future and what the people want for themselves and their children.
Sometime back, a priest told his church during a repentance day mass that a National Day of Repentance becoming a public holiday would be inconceivable in a country Australia, for example.
He said if Australia had such a day, most Australians would spend it at the beach.
It’s the same here in PNG now.
Shops still open for business, people still go shopping, and sporting activities still take place.
Religious values are not just private concerns about our salvation, they are also essential to our identity and culture.
The same should be for National Remembrance Day, Easter and Christmas.
These holidays should be observed with great reverence because they are special days.
National Remembrance Day is celebrated on July 23 each year. It is a memorial day designed to honour PNG soldiers who died during military engagements, including World War I and World War II.
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion. Remembering the resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew daily hope that we have victory over sin.
Christmas is a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and mostly celebrated as a family unit.
For Repentance Day, if it cannot be observed for its intended purpose then there is no need for it to be a public holiday.

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