Laity’s Role in Church

Part Six

Laity’s Role in the Celebration of Feasts

Feasts known by the order of Holy Orthodox Incarnation Church have their own liturgy and laities have role in them. In this section, we will see what is expected from laities during the celebration of the feasts.

God created holidays Himself by His rest day; the first Sabbath day (Kedamit Senbet), where He finished from creating His creations.  The Book of Genesis states it as, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3)

Thence, we commemorate the seventh day and the second Sabbath day where our Lord and Savior Jesus raised from the dead after His crucifixion for the redemption of the world, through veneration of the Lord, praising Him, singing and also spending the holiday without any worldly work as written in the Old Testament saying, “He has made His wonderful works to be remembered.” (Psalm 111:4)

As feasts or holidays are the commemoration of, foremost the Almighty Lord; God, His abode Holy Mother Saint Mary and The Arc of the Covenant, the angels, the saints, martyrs as well the righteous fathers and those who lived in monastic life as monks and hermits, “the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance,” (Psalm 112:6), we celebrate their day through praise of yaredic songs and hymns, veneration for their Arc of the Covenant and presentation of alms for the church constructed by their name.

Prophet David said, “For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.” (Psalm 42:4) Saint Jacob also said, “Is any merry?  let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13)

Prophet David told us to celebrate holidays, He said, “This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) The commemoration of holy days are done through glorification of the Lord, through worshiping, praising and singing. It is a must to remember to be grateful to God and abstain from any kind of work and labor.

In the New Testament, we celebrate major and minor feasts including, The First Sabbath (Kedamit Senbet), the Second Sabbath (Ehud- Christians Sabbath), The Major Feasts of our Lord which are The Annunciation of Mary, Birth of Lord Jesus Christ, Baptism of Jesus, Feast of Mount of Tabor, Feast of Hosanna, The Crucifixion of Jesus, Resurrection of Christ, The Ascension of Lord Jesus Christ, Pentecost; As well the Minor Feasts of Lord Jesus Christ, Gospel, Light, Nolawi, Circumcision of Lord Jesus, Cana of Galilee, Feast of Mount Olive, “Geana,” Feast of The Cross; Passion Week, Week of Resurrection, Feasts of Holy Mother Saint Mary and the saints (angels, prophets, apostles, righteous and martyrs.)

Accord the Liturgy of Church, feasts are celebrated by Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Priest, Deacons alongside the Laity in the Church and on public squares. In particular, to commemorating the days of the Lord, His Mother, the angels and all the saints, they are celebrated in Church, excluding the feasts of Founding of the Cross “Meskel” and Baptism of Jesus, “Timket” in which their ceremony are held in public squares and places.

The foremost thing to be expected from laities is to be part of the praising of the priest starting from the eve of feasts and on holidays by Yaredic songs and Hymns, by other songs through spiritual contentment. We shall praise the Lord and glorify Him for all His miraculous work. We make veneration to God by prostration and alms giving except some holidays which does not include making prostration specially Sabbaths, Major Feasts of the Lord, Pentecost, The feasts of Holy Mother Saint Mary’s Departure Day and Archangel Saint Michael’s Feasts.

It is not expected to fast on feasts which are Sabbaths, the Major and Minor feasts which takes place on the five days excluding the two fasting days known as “Rebue and Arebe” in the Local language. It is also expected to pray, read holy scriptures which are the Holy Bible, Apocrypha, Hagiographies, Homilies and other scriptures on feast days.

On holy days, the public particularly youngsters shall be apart from any kind of harm and evil, abstain ourselves from getting drunk, or any other harmful activities, make our veneration and celebrations in accordance to the liturgy; mannered, disciplined, in obedience and humility.

It is of the essence to mention some youths who participate in the organization and decoration of public places for the publicly celebrated feasts majorly known as “Meskel” and “Timket.” The youths get engage in cleaning the temple and compound of the Church, decoration of the areas that the Arc of the Covenant, The Priests, servile and the Christian community passes. They also help out in keeping the parade in order. We might have observed these youngsters being rewarded in front of the Arc of Covenants on the feast days.

Christians are order to keep the liturgy by participating on the melodic hymn of Saint Yared through the night, attend on the Pray of “Kidane,” The Divine Liturgy and Sermon in knowing the word of God; gospel, venerate the Arc of the Covenant which are taken out of the temple in particular to the feast day.

May God bless us, Amen!