Easter and the ex­em­plary life of Christ

Daily Trust - - VIEWS -

Chris­tians all over the world have been in a sober, re­flec­tive and cel­e­bra­tory mood from last Fri­day, known in Chris­ten­dom as Good Fri­day to yes­ter­day be­ing Easter Sun­day to to­day, which is Easter Mon­day. They have been cel­e­brat­ing Easter by en­gag­ing in en­act­ments and rit­u­als to com­mem­o­rate the death and res­ur­rec­tion of the Lord Je­sus Christ who, ac­cord­ing to the teach­ing of the faith, gave his life as ran­som for the re­demp­tion of mankind two thou­sand years ago. His sac­ri­fi­cial death was meant to rec­on­cile mankind with God with whom they had fallen out be­cause of their sins.

In the run up to Easter, Chris­tians had prayed and fasted for 40 long days to seek for­give­ness for their sins, to ask for restora­tion and fel­low­ship with God and to re­flect on the ex­em­plary life lived by the founder of their faith. Easter is there­fore an im­por­tant an­niver­sary in the Chris­tian cal­en­dar.

Al­though ac­tiv­i­ties mark­ing this oc­ca­sion are of­fi­cially sup­posed to come to an end to­day, re­flec­tion on its lessons should not cease, es­pe­cially among Chris­tians in Nigeria. This is be­cause not much progress can be made by a people who live un­ex­am­ined lives. This oc­ca­sion pro­vides a good enough op­por­tu­nity for all Nige­ri­ans, and not Chris­tians alone, to re­flect on our in­di­vid­ual lives and the life of our coun­try Nigeria.

Our coun­try is go­ing through one of its most try­ing times. In­se­cu­rity, un­em­ploy­ment, im­moral­ity in both high and low places, greed, self­ish­ness and lack of fel­low-feel­ing among the pop­u­lace have to­gether cre­ated lack of fear of God and ab­sence of love for our neigh­bours. These ills have con­spired to make life mis­er­able for most Nige­ri­ans. Now that we are des­per­ately search­ing for a way out of our mul­ti­ple prob­lems, there are many in­valu­able lessons we can learn from the ex­em­plary life of the leader of Chris­tian­ity.

One of the most im­por­tant lessons we can learn from Je­sus Christ is sac­ri­fice for both our per­sonal de­vel­op­ment, the de­vel­op­ment of our neigh­bours and our coun­try. A life of greed, con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion and self­ish­ness en­gaged in by some of our com­pa­tri­ots has done much to ruin a coun­try that has enough to cater for all cit­i­zens. In the past one month our news­pa­pers come out al­most ev­ery day with scream­ing head­lines of deaths in the hands of ter­ror­ists and crim­i­nal mer­chants in­clud­ing rit­ual killers, as­sas­sins and armed rob­bers. This state of af­fairs should not be al­lowed to con­tinue.

Our woes are not limited to this type of sav­agery. Some wage a highly dev­as­tat­ing eco­nomic war­fare against the en­tire so­ci­ety. A few highly placed per­sons in so­ci­ety cor­ner a large chunk of pub­lic funds for them­selves and their im­me­di­ate fam­i­lies. In some cases, such as the pen­sion fund scam, these monies be­long to cit­i­zens who have spent the most pro­duc­tive years of their lives in the ser­vice of their father­land only for their pen­sion en­ti­tle­ments to be stolen by the very per­sons who are put in-charge to fa­cil­i­tate its dis­burse­ment. Many pen­sion­ers have been re­ported to have died on end­less queues meant to ver­ify those who are gen­uinely en­ti­tled from those who are not. While these largely far­ci­cal shows go on, oth­ers are busy liv­ing fat on the sweat of these se­nior cit­i­zens. This is un­con­scionable.

We can­not con­tinue to tol­er­ate sui­cide bomb­ing of in­no­cent souls, as­sas­si­na­tion, kid­nap­ping, elec­tion rig­ging, adul­tery and for­ni­ca­tion and other out­ra­geous acts that have be­come com­mon place in our coun­try to­day. Our dis­po­si­tion to en­gage in or to aid and abet greed and self­ish­ness is what has turned a once peace­ful coun­try into a place that is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly too vi­o­lent for the com­fort of all. We must wake up to the re­al­ity that if we do not jet­ti­son this ru­inous dis­po­si­tion, it will con­sume us all.

The mes­sage of Easter is there­fore to learn to live sim­ple and hum­ble lives de­void of the rat race to ac­quire money by means fair or foul. Je­sus Christ, whose life Chris­tians are cel­e­brat­ing, was known for his hu­mil­ity, love for hu­man­ity and peace. These are the eter­nal virtues that would change the cir­cum­stances of our coun­try if we abide by them. The spirit of Easter should not end with the two days’ pub­lic hol­i­day de­clared by the govern­ment. It should per­sist for all times.

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