We today join millions all over the world to celebrate the holy feast of Easter, the day remembered for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It signifies the conclusion of the Passion, the trials and tribulations of Jesus Christ which, in turn, was preceded by Lent, the 40-day period of prayers, fasting, and penance, a period of purification for the ultimate sacrifice and the eventual triumph which is marked worldwide today.
With the Easter celebration, Christians now conclude the Holy Week which began with the Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday, the acknowledgement of the glory of the King of Kings, followed by the Last Supper, the fulfillment of the Feast of Passover (liberation from bondage) and, of course, the Good Friday, the day the Lord offered himself as sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. The Holy Week always has been the most reassuring period to Christians all over the world, such that while the Notre Dame Cathedral of France was in flames, Parisians sang and prayed, assured in faith that even in the face of a looming catastrophe, one of the greatest Christian churches in the world will ultimately survive.
The Easter tide begins today and would last seven weeks, ending with the 50th day Pentecost Sunday, symbolising the universality of Christ’s ministry which subsequently went beyond human limitations or control. Thus, Easter is that critical period that proves that without the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection, Christianity would have been deprived of its eternal roots. So, while we have cause to be merry and thankful, the great lessons of Easter must not be lost on Christians, and today should be a day of reflection, meditation and re-dedication to the message and principled markers Jesus left for humanity.
Easter demonstrates the power of love. Jesus Christ did not only preach the Golden Rule, the need to love our neighbours like ourselves, he led by example by saving humanity through his sacrifice. He reconciled humanity with God and made it possible for us to achieve salvation. This should always serve as a reminder to all of us in our dealings with our neighbours, friends, and compatriots. Christ is worthy of emulation and the world would be a more peaceful place if more people would love their neighbours as they love themselves.
Few good deeds are as powerful as self-sacrifice. While we may not be martyred or crucified on the cross like our Lord, we are daily offered opportunities to be our brothers’ keeper in so many different ways which are quite as important. The rule is that the little kindness of everyday life is as crucial in relieving our neighbours and friends sometimes from very trying conditions. Self-sacrifice is one virtue in our public service that it sorely lacking and we urge our elected and appointed public officials to reflect on their service to our country and turn a new leaf. Sometimes, it seems that our public officers care for little else than their personal comfort and those of their families and friends, which reflects badly on our public services and the manifest lack of trust between the rulers and the ruled.
Easter reminds us of the power of forgiveness which is the beginning of true reconciliation. We cannot hope to be at peace with our neighbours unless we are willing to forgive the daily irritations and provocations that occur in our interactions. Vindictiveness is the exact opposite of what Jesus Christ preached. He emphasised forgiveness at every turn, knowing how crucial it is in our lives. If we did not forgive our neighbours, how could we hope to be forgiven by our Father in Heaven to whom we pray daily for forgiveness?
We urge all Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Easter to pray for peace in our country and communal harmony and to remember our less fortunate brothers and sisters by extending to them some assistance. We must rededicate ourselves to the spirit of serving others or causes beyond ourselves for the betterment of humanity and the glory of God. We wish our esteemed readers a Happy Easter celebration.