On this Easter Sunday, the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after three days in the tomb, following a brutal crucifixion on Mount Calvary, Nigerians should reflect on the challenges facing their nation and renew their hope in the country’s manifestly great destiny. Indeed, this year’s celebration offers Christians in Nigeria yet another occasion to reflect on the import of the outstanding events upon which the Christian religion and practice are anchored and how those events should rekindle their faith in the redemptive powers of love.
Amidst a season of stress and distress, of widespread degradation of social morality, and the worsening economic fortunes of the overwhelming majority of the people, Nigerian Christians are today celebrating the miracle of the resurrection. Nigerians have indeed been subjected to considerable socio-economic strain in the past year, partly on account of the substantial fall in crude oil prices, but also as a result of the monumental corruption of the political elite, as demonstrated in the scandalous revelations of the last few months that now appear endless. Many of the players in the degenerate system are believers who failed to bring to bear live Christian values, and rather facilitated the reckless looting of the national treasury. Nigerians make a lot of noise about religion, but when it comes to self-gratification at the expense of the common good, or taking advantage of weak links in the nation’s national structures and institutions, the Nigerian Christian and their Muslim counterparts do readily subsume and subordinate their religious values to the conspiracy to defraud the commonwealth.
For some Nigerians Christians, the gospel of prosperity is not only the most attractive but in fact the only viable one. Many renounce the idea of suffering or sacrifice today for a future reward and they pursue instant gratification by whatever means possible, even if that means taking-short cuts to riches. They take the easy life at the expense of the citizenry. To bequeath the perfect example of a life of consummate love of humanity, Jesus lived, preached and taught humility, justice, service, compassion, non-violence and forgiveness. He pointed the way to the eternal truths that all need as guide, highlighting the paradox of humanity, that giving begets receiving, that dying to self is the sign of true birth and maturity, that the triumph of the meek and humble overwhelms the transient and ephemeral power of the tormentor.
The glorious resurrection of Jesus at Easter freed the ardent believer from embarrassment and disappointment, and authenticated the prophecy of the redeemer himself who promised to rebuild the Lord’s temple in three days of its falling.
Nigerians are celebrating Easter under a cloud of uncertainty on the social and economic fronts. The war against insecurity is not yet won, the war against corruption is grinding and the economic indices remain troubling. Christians who are sustained in hope should rekindle that confidence in the possibility of a new country of committed leaders and trusting followers to lead Nigeria out of the woods.
Inspired Christians wherever they are can bring about the much-desired change to their immediate environment and the country at large. They can impact their sphere of influence and thereby aggregate the much needed turnaround of the society. The Christian factor can thus become elemental for the infusion of godly values.
Nigerians’ celebration today must necessarily be subdued in the thought of many of the Christians all over the place who cannot celebrate, who are trapped by the forces of evil, who are hounded out of their homes, whose places of worship have been destroyed, who are forcefully conscripted into degrading servitude, whose survival is at the whims of their captors and whose kith and kin are daily tormented and traumatised.
In the midst of this holiday, there is invariably the tendency to lose the import of the Easter, which highlights the triumph of truth, justice and sacrificial love, and the promise of the ultimate victory of good over evil. Nigerians must, however, keep this key elements of Easter in mind as they celebrate today.
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