By Kayode Ketefe
Tomorrow is the beginning of this year’s Easter period. It is a Good Friday which marks 1982th year anniversary of the crucifixion of one of the greatest persons and religious icons that had ever trodden on this planet.
The entire world would be thrown into celebrative mood during the three-day period straddling tomorrow (Good Friday) and Monday (Easter Monday), a period historically representing the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who died, according to Christian chronology, 1982 years ago. That is in contemplation of Gregorian numerology which starts counting from the year of His birth and thus has the year of death as 33 A.D.
The Christ followers all over the world believe that this singular event is the pinnacle of divine intervention to salvage mankind- the denouement in the primordial plot featuring mankind saga and stretching all the eons from the blissful era of plenitude and grace in the Garden of Eden, through the tragic time when humanity fell in the same locale, to the period of unmerited redemption.
The Easter is seen as the ultimate symbolism of love, a transcendental form of agape; the divine love of God for mankind conveying the message of everlasting hope. No human, no matter what you believe, is absolutely indifferent to the historical figure called Jesus of Nazareth.
Christians believe that Christ is the son of God who came to world for the singular purpose of saving the fallen man from the eternal damnation, through God’s gracious redemptive benignities.
The Muslims see Jesus as one of the principal prophets of God, who came to the world with Allah’s message to human beings, who preached a sublime message of love for mankind and performed countless number of miracles, both to alleviate the suffering of the people and to underscore his mission as an emissary of the Almighty. Even the atheists regard Jesus as one of the greatest teachers of mankind whose messages are laden with great felicities, charity and hope, which are requisite ingredients for harmonious co-existence among the earth dwellers.
In all these varied religious/philosophical world views, the phenomenon called love and its esteemed, inherent value in human affairs is ever constant. Thus, all the world religions, including even atheistic liberalism and scientific humanism, convey the underlying message that we should love ourselves, that we should shun selfishness in all its ramifications. It appears to this writer that if we can imbibe the essence of Easter and allow its message of genuine and selfless affections to percolate our spirits, most of our problems will disappear.
Neither the Holy Bible nor the Al-Quran Kareem (The Glorious Quran) enjoins us to embrace the culture of hatred and violence; neither says we should maim and kill one another on accounts of our reconcilable or irreconcilable differences, rather, the two scriptures are replete with passages urging love and forbearance.
The politicians who exploit their public offices to pursue egotistic agenda; who loot the treasury with abandon, acquiring properties all over the world while the majority of their compatriots are languishing in heart-rending poverty, have no love in their perverse hearts. What amount of love inheres in a heart that diverts a fund meant for the development of his country into a private Swiss account or a leader who denies the people their fundamental human rights, or fraudulently stole the mandate of his opponents in an electoral contest?
A religious zealot, who burns down places of worship of other people, even if it is Ogun or Sango shrine, deserves no other epithet than an inconsiderate, loveless, terrorist. The same thing holds true for those who kill other innocent people on the ground of tribalism.
The true lesson of Easter transcends mere festivities and fanfare; it transcends mere attendance of places of worship in flamboyant dresses and listening perfunctorily to sermons. In countless number of churches around the world in the next few days, homiletic injunctions would be reeled out with exegetical precision and godly passion.
But what is really important is the number of people who turns new leaves in obedience to the messages, not how many attends churches; how many hearts would allow the real gospel of love to take roots and blossom?
How many people are doing unto others as they would like to be treated?
Many people know the customs and tradition behind Easter, but very few bother themselves about the significance of Christ crucifixion and acclaimed resurrection. For a great number of people, Easter period like other festive periods, is just an opportunity to engage in reckless binging, drinking, debauchery and lasciviousness.
The practices exhibiting lack of love percolates every facet of the society. It would do us a lot of good if we strive to forget all our differences and unite as common sojourners in this earthly realm in which we are bound with a common destiny. To really move forward, we must cultivate the sublime virtue of love, evinced through positive attributes like magnanimity, forbearance, amity, charity and altruism, all of which underline the true message of Easter. Happy Easter!
Ketefe may be followed on twitter @Ketesco
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