Easter and the exemplary life of Christ
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.