Chinese Church Voices

Observing Qingming during the Coronavirus Crisis

Chinese Church Voices is an occasional column of the ChinaSource Blog providing translations of original writing by Christians in China. The views represented are entirely those of the original author; inclusion in Chinese Church Voices does not imply or equal an endorsement by ChinaSource.

On April 6, China celebrated the Qingming holiday. Normally this is a time when many Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors. Also known as the “Tomb-sweeping” holiday, relatives clean the grave sites of departed family members and offer them sacrifices or “worship.” How do Christians celebrate Qingming? How have Chinese Christians celebrated Qingming during the COVID-19 pandemic? This article from China Christian Daily gives a picture of how some Chinese Christians approached Qingming this year.

Chinese Church Advocates “iCloud Tomb Sweeping” on Qingming

During Qingming, a holiday to commemorate the dead, churches across China traditionally hold memorial and tomb sweeping services to remember deceased Christians. 

However, this year’s Qingming was different as control measures were taken against the spread of COVID-19. 

Many churches offered online tomb-sweeping services, urging believers to remotely pray for and mourn their ancestors and family members who passed away. 

Since local graveyards were closed, a church in Guangdong hosted an online service with the theme of “Honoring the True God and Remembering Family Members” last Saturday [April 4]. 

A church pastor in Jieyang, Guangdong exhorted believers who attended on-site commemorative services not to be engaged in superstitious activities such as ancestor worship, sacrifices, or offerings. He suggested that they remove weeds in cemeteries and trace red characters on tombstones. Family members could sing hymns, pray together, and recall their ancestors’ wise words and admirable deeds.  

A church in Jinan, Shandong launched a specific prayer:

We pray for God’s protection on this special day so that we can mark the day with the truth. We should remember our deceased family members, not “worship” them. Pray that God will do his good work in us so we can follow after his heart. Let us be always vigilant. Only you are God, only you are the true and living God. Only you deserve our worship.

Original Article: Chinese Church Advocates “Icloud Tomb Sweeping” on Qingming by China Christian Daily.
Edited and reposted with permission.

Image credit: Scott Edmunds via Flickr.
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