MERRIMENT and excesses, the type associated with Christmas, are alien to Easter. The manner of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, whose death according to Christian doctrine, God used in saving mankind, is always filled with the sobriety of appreciating the depth of the sacrifice.
It is tough for Nigerians to be happy at this time. The economic challenges apart, scores of Nigerians die daily from the terrorist attacks that have heightened insecurity everywhere. Yet the results of the elections and the expectations they have created could generate momentary happiness.
Thoughts of God’s love are hardly associated with the present attitude of Nigerians to one another. The celebration of Easter is steadily eroding its religious content. Speeches and preachments have been elevated to the reason for the season. Neither preachers, nor their listeners are making efforts to live the life – sacrifice, forgiveness, expectations of a share in the life beyond – which Easter should inspire.
Jesus Christ, the centre of the celebrations, died to reconcile mankind to the Almighty, in the same way that He expects we would be reconciled to each other. The raging conflicts in the country, across regions, religions and reasons, do not reflect any knowledge of Easter. For people as religious as Nigerians, the number of conflicts and their intensity question their belief.
The rich and mighty send messages that ignore realities that hurt Nigerians. Our leaders would regurgitate the message of Easter on their way to merriment while workers’ salaries are not paid, justice is denied, the poor are getting poorer. Some pensioners – old people who have given their youth to this country – missed making it to this Easter, as they died queueing for their pittance. They are hardly paid.
Easter presents a great opportunity to explore God’s unfailing love. We should also think about those who our national policies hurt the most. We need to reconcile our policies with the needs of our people, who we are hurting so much that they are losing hope that our leaders remember them.
Jesus cared for the poor all His days. For Him, it was not a show to be put on and off at certain times of the year. Caring for the needy, the challenged, the disadvantaged, the poor, the weak, the sick, the oppressed, the widows, the orphans is not about photo opportunities. It is a life-long commitment that should be the essence of daily leadership.
Life is getting tougher daily. Ordinary Nigerians watch as opportunities elude them because selfish leaders spend all their time on themselves. This definitely contradicts the spirit of Easter, which is about daily commitment to sacrifice for others, as Jesus Christ did.
Happy Easter Nigerians!