We should imbibe the virtues of service, sacrifice and love
For the second year in a row, Christians are celebrating Easter at the same period that Muslims are observing the Ramadan fast. The symbolism of that coincidence should not be lost on the adherents of both faiths. For Nigeria and Nigerians, faith is a valuable tool, especially at a time like this but only if we use it to counteract the rhetoric of hate and division. The faith we profess should guide and inspire us to do what is right. At a time like this, Muslims and Christians must use their faith as a vehicle for deepening harmony in Nigeria. But on this special occasion of Easter, we must also rejoice and celebrate with Christians all over the world.
The sacrifice, love, mercy, and unity that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ exemplified are some of the enduring values of Easter that transcend doctrine, and they are worthy to be reflected upon by all Nigerians. Perhaps more than at any period in history, it is important that we use this season to reflect on things that bind us together rather than on those that divide us. With our country increasingly torn apart by hate, violence and all manner of social strains, our streets and alleyways are now overrun by kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers, and sundry other assortments of troublemakers.
The mystery of today’s celebration is anchored on the fact that Jesus chose death because that was the penalty to which all in the flesh were liable on account of sin. In taking this path, Jesus was able to bring salvation to mankind. It is in the juxtaposition of misery represented by death on the cross and the happiness of the resurrection morning that Christians believe they can face tomorrow. Because their saviour lives. But it is an act of faith. A day such as this also calls for us to shun selfishness and dedicate our energy to the promotion of the common good as we seek to build a new society based on mutual respect.
For Christians, it is important to remember that Christ spent his whole life and ministry with the poor, the weak and the oppressed. He shared their anxieties, their hopes, and their aspirations. He fed the hungry from the finest wheat; and he healed the sick, consoled the sorrowful and wept for the dead. These are the attributes worthy of emulation by leaders and indeed all Nigerians as we celebrate Easter. More importantly, the new wave of intolerance that followed the 2023 general election in our country is a further invitation to all compatriots to join hands in building a new civilisation of love that eschews hatred, violence, rancor, and acrimony across the artificial divides we have created from mismanaging our country. It is only when we adopt this selfless attitude that we would be able to focus attention on the ordinary people, their safety and welfare as well as the optimal allocation of scarce resources for effective implementation of policies for the greater good of our society.
While Easter Sunday is important to Christians, its message of salvation through faith is the essence of hope, regardless of one’s religious persuasion. Friday’s death on the cross and today’s resurrection after three days in the grave symbolises for Christians the ultimate victory of life over death. The risen Christ brought to the world hope, faith and love and adherents are enjoined to always seek love. If humanity would only heed that message, this world would be a better place to live. So, on this Easter Sunday, we invite all Nigerians to renew hope and faith in our country while relating with others with love. May Easter awaken in each of us true joy shown in dedicated service and love for our fellow country men and women.
May the example of Jesus inspire in each one of us service, sacrifice and love for our country and our fellow human beings. We wish all our readers a Happy Easter!