We join Christians all over the world to celebrate Easter, the holiest feast in the Christian calendar. It marks the end of Lent, the 40-day devotional period of fasting, prayer and penance. It also marks the highest point of the Passion Tide and the end of the Holy Week, which commemorate the trials and tribulations of Jesus Christ in Calvary. Last Thursday marked the Last Supper or the feast of the Passover, while Friday marked the day of His crucifixion and, later, death, and burial. After three days, in fulfilment of the ancient prophecies, He rose from the dead. By so doing He demonstrated divine love, exemplary sacrifice and, above all, the triumph over death.
Thus, it does not appear like a coincidence that Easter arrived right at the middle of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic now stalking the earth and spreading death, suffering and terror all over the globe. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a poignant reminder to the world of the true value of life and our need to live for purposes other than our personal drives, desires and wants. Easter, therefore, reaffirms for us the need to spread love wherever we might find ourselves. Christ’s sacrifice reminds us why selfless service is the ultimate fulfilment of our mission. To spend our life on earth in service to God, the Creator is the ultimate purpose of life. Christ, through his sufferings and triumph, finally taught us how and why death no longer has power over us.
In this season of love, we urge all Christians to give to the less privileged, the needy and the more vulnerable in the society. They should also give to those affected by the social and economic lockdown of our towns and cities, forced on the country by the Coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, we think this is an opportunity for the country to institutionalise a method of caring for the less privileged among us. It seems a good time to remind our governments, state and federal, to invest liberally in agriculture to make us truly self-sufficient in basic food production, to open the hinterland, and to document the informal sector and, generally ensure that no one is left behind.
For the first time ever, Easter is today being celebrated indoors with less of the usual flourishes, exciting activities and merrymaking. Such sombre atmosphere, indeed, would enable us meditate and pray fervently for the welfare, progress and security of Nigeria. The adoption of restrictive measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 by limiting interpersonal interaction especially in large groups is purely a defensive measure against a lethal virus, which has no known therapy or remedy. The only known method of limiting its spread is social distancing and personal hygiene. We urge Nigerians to abide by the government’s regulations, which seem to be the only method to curtail the spread of the dangerous virus. We are sure that although the pews may be empty today, our prayers would nonetheless be heard and answered. We urge Nigerians to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) whose officials have been forthright and diligent in the fight against the virus. Nigerians, wherever they can, should wear the facemask, wash their hands as often as they can, and seek government healthcare if they feel feverish and have dry cough.
We urge all Nigerians to pray and ask for forgiveness and relief from the Coronavirus. The nation should rededicate itself to serve humanity, work for the country with honesty and integrity and imbibe the spirit of Easter and embrace the virtues of Christ. We call on world leaders to use the lessons from the Coronavirus pandemic to ensure global peace and a world free of want.
We wish Happy Easter to all Nigerians.