By; Samson Yaki.
Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third
day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday,
commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus . In western Christianity, Eastertide, the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the fiftieth day, Pentecost Sunday.
In Orthodoxy, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the fortieth day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar.
The most widely accepted theory of the origin of the term is that it is derived from the name of a goddess mentioned by the 7th to 8th-century English Monk Bede, who wrote that Ēosturmōnaþ (Old English ‘Month of Ēostre’, translated in Bede’s time as “Paschalmonth”) was an English month, corresponding to April, which he says “was once called after a goddess of their named Ēostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month”.
In Greek and Latin, the Christian celebration was, and still is, called Pascha, a word derived from Aramaic cognate to Hebrew (Pesach). The word originally denoted the Jewish festival known in English as Passover, commemorating the Jewish Exodus from slavery in Egypt.
Pascha is also a name by which Jesus himself is remembered in the Orthodox Church, especially in connection with his resurrection and with the season of its celebration.
Jewish Christians, the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, timed the observance in relation to Passover. Direct evidence for a more fully formed Christian festival of Pascha (Easter) begins to appear in the mid-2nd century. Perhaps the earliest extant primary source referring to Easter is a mid-2nd-century Paschal homily attributed to Melito of Sardis, which characterizes the celebration as a well-established Easter.
The significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. For those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection, “death is swallowed up in victory.” Any person who chooses to follow Jesus receives “a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. Through faith in the working of God those who follow Jesus are spiritually resurrected with him so that they may walk in a new way of life and receive eternal salvation.
Through the Last Supper, sufferings and crucifixion of Jesus that preceded the resurrection, all signify a new meaning to the Christiandom. As in the upper room during the Last Supper Jesus identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed, which Paul states that, “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”.
Christians in Nigeria are not left out of this significant celebration. As Christmas, Easter celebration comes with many events as people joyfully celebrate the shattering of the chains of sin and the release of the oil of Grace over humanity.
This year’s Easter came with attendant disturbances looming in the country as the country tries to crack the hard nut of changing the status quo. Incessant fuel crisis seems not ready to bow to the pressure of this change mantra.
Exposition of corruption giants is highly on the go as the government makes effort to fight corruption.
The events arount this Easter is something to ponder on. They have really reawakened the consciousness of Christians in Nigeria on their authority in Christ Jesus especially as Christian body comes face to face with the government in Kaduna State.
The idea of regulating religious preaching activities in the state is not going down well with the people. This was the fear of Honourable Deacon Nuhu Goro Shadalafiya of Kaduna State House of Assembly as he clearly warned that the bill is sensitive and a delicate ground and called for wholistic representation to avoid misrepresentation of any group.
Whether full representation or misrepresentation, the heat this bill is generating has gone viral.
Though some legislators decried serious misplacement of priorities by most religious leaders who always engage in an unreligeous activities, instead of helping the innocent followers to know the importance of their religion and to have more faith in the Creator, most clerics deviate in most cases which usually leads to serious disharmony among the people.
Honourable Bityiong Yakubu Nkom noted that “We are not fighting the Clergymen, we are not fighting anybody. What we are saying is that we have had enough crisis in Kaduna State and people are hiding under religious tendencies with different motives to perpetrate evil in the society which we don’t want to happen again “.
Yes, it is on record that Kaduna State has been a centre stage of theartrical display of religious crisis in recent past which the bill hopefully wish to curtail if passed into Law. But going by what is happening now, there is likelihood that the crisis it hopes to curb may result to more crises. Going back into the past, one would discover that most of the religious crisis Kaduna State witnessed was partly due to some bias policies and negligence of the government.
If Kaduna State Government really means to control religious crisis in the state, let the government engage in creating serious religious awareness for tolerance, not enacting a law to strain the clergies. Religion is part of the people so also the state. They should therefore be given conducive atmosphere to coexist.
Though Mallam Kabiru Lawanti of ABU Zaria showed concern on why people are rejecting a way out of the destructive monster in the state. But let me say here that perhaps the people are sceptical that the bill in question first came in 1984, when General Buhari was in power. So the resurfacing of the bill now and other issues are unfortunate coincidences.
Democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people and the voice of the people they said is the voice of God. Let the will of the people prevail.
But what shall seperate us from the love of Christ? Practically nothing. The events surrounding this Easter celebration should be a pointer that Christianity is not a lipservice religion. CHRIST has redeemed us but we must carry our cross daily and follow him. Thank God for the death and resurrection of Jesus which is the solid rock of our hopes; our faith cannot falter.