|AS Christians within and beyond Nigeria celebrate Christ’s resurrection today, in spite of general economic challenges, Christians across the country have restated their determination to uphold the essence of the celebration. Also, clerics have called on people to be hopeful, in the spirit of the season.|
Nigeria is worth sacrificing for, Archbishop Ademowo tells Christians
Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Diocesan Bishop of Lagos, The Most Reverend Dr Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, has called on Nigerians to see the country as one worth sacrificing for.
He stated this in his Easter message made available to TribuneChurch, in which he urged leaders to put the country first in their dealings, noting that citizens must be “God-fearing, hardworking and responsible.”
He said: “The blessing of Easter and the message of Easter combine to encourage us to live courageously from day to day, doing great things with and in Christ. None of our situations are strange to Christ; Nigeria’s situation is not strange to Him. The story of our life, whether tragic or comic, is like a bud with bitter taste which will end up with the sweetness and blossom of the flower.
“Our values, our attitudes can be revived while solutions should be provided to the socio-economic crises, insecurity, wrong perception of ourselves and other evil vices plaguing our nation.
“Majorly, all Nigerians must play their parts in being good citizens. We must be God-fearing, hardworking and responsible as citizens. We should begin to see Nigeria as a country worth sacrificing for. There is the need to restore our values. We have sacrificed our value system on the altar of greed, indiscipline, selfishness and insatiable craze for material wealth acquisition. National rebirth must begin with the family, through the inculcation of values and virtues of truth, fairness, selflessness, justice, among others, in youths.”
He also called for urgent efforts to address herdsmen’s clashes with farmers.
“Governors, especially in the affected states, must begin to take the bull by the horn, by enacting anti-open grazing laws and meeting with stakeholders in order to promote and begin the enforcement of such laws. It would also not be out of place to legally set up or empower local structures of security so as to enhance the protection of the lives and property of hardworking law-abiding citizens. All that has just been said brings to light the necessity of state policing and true federalism. It is only in this way that true protection and solicitude for citizens can be guaranteed,” he stated.
Let lessons of Lent resonate throughout lifetime —Most Revd Abidoye
Christians in the country have been advised to allow the lessons of almsgiving, prayer and righteousness, as exhibited during the Lenten period, continue to resonate in their lives.
Spiritual Father and Chairman of Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church worldwide, Most Reverend Prophet Dr Samuel Adefila Abidoye, made the call in a statement issued at the church’s international headquarters, Galilee Land, Orile-Igbon, Oyo State, to congratulate Christians on the completion of the Lenten period.
Prophet Abidoye charged Christians and Nigerians, in general, not to be despaired by socio-economic challenges, but remain hopeful and prayerful towards achieving a better country.
He stated that rather than continue to complain about the myriad of challenges in the country, Nigerians should effect the change they wanted by collecting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to get the right to exercise their franchise during the 2019 general election.
He also called for immediate action from the executive arm of government and the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the 2018 budget to reflect positively on the economy and on Nigerians.
Easter challenges Christians to be faithful, authentic in every circumstance —Bishop Badejo
Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, in his Easter message made available to TribuneChurch, stated that “Easter challenges Christians to be faithful and authentic under every circumstance. Jesus remained true and authentic and he achieved our victory over evil, betrayal and death. Darkness yields to light, sorrow to joy and death to life! Though the entire world opposed the faithful man, God will vindicate him. That is why Jesus makes the difference.
“No matter what we face in the course of life, we must be steadfast. Christianity teaches us to be truthful, peaceful, forgiving, generous and God-fearing, otherwise we cannot be the salt of the earth and light of the world. Trouble must come and tribulations may occur but through it all we must not allow anything to take all that goodness away from us. That is why Saint Paul exclaimed: ‘What can separate us from the love of Christ?’ (Rom. 8) Nothing! This should be the summary of Christian’s principle and Christian living. He said to the Philippians and to us, ‘Let all the good character seen in Christ be seen in you’ (Phil 2:5).”
Easter, for celebration and evangelism —Bishop Igbinosa
Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Edo State chapter, Bishop Mon Igbinosa, in his Easter message, called on Christians to note that “Easter period was not only about celebrating, but is a period whereby Christians should evangelise the good news of Jesus Christ, who paid the price for the whole world.”
He urged Christians not to engage in desperate activities in the effort to celebrate Easter at all costs, but instead, embrace the saving power of Christ through true repentance.
Preparations are upbeat with revival programmes —Pastor Olojede
While Pastor Victor Kayode, Pastor in Charge of Province of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Delta Province 1, Warri, REGION 23, in his Easter message said: “Easter preparations for many people seems one of mixed feelings because of the state of the economy,” Pastor in Charge of Province 1, Benin City, and Assistant Pastor in Charge of Region 13, Edo State, RCCG, Pastor Bode Olojede, in his Easter message, stated that “It is obvious that the economic situation of the country is parlous. Jobs are in short supply; those in employment are barely surviving with low living wages and the extremely weak purchasing power of the Naira. It is then understandable that the Easter season is generally to be observed as low-key. However, among Christians, the preparations are upbeat with a plethora of revival programmes, evangelism, soul-winning programmes.”
This should be a period to share, help others —Prophet Omitade
General Overseer, Holy Trinity Authority Prophetic Ministry International, Prophet James Omitade, in his Easter message noted that “Indeed, these are tough times for Nigerians. I had to go out of my way to borrow money to be able to reach out to many Christians who have no means, or some form of financial help to pull through this period. I had to borrow to satisfy the people of God and it really underscored the fact that things are hard.
“Interestingly, this underscores the theme of our Easter programme, The Cross, a Great Sacrifice. Every gathering of the children of God at this period of Easter should be a period of sharing possibilities presented to us by the joy of the resurrection of the Lord. Those on the side of possibility should be on the side of making it possible for those who are not on that side.
“By helping one another, that will help us to resurrect the life of Christ in their lives. Every one of us must act in the way of resurrection to restore others to the way of Christ; the way of possibility.”
It’s a low-key event —Pastor Oyeleye
Associate Pastor at Dominion Life Bible Church, Ilorin, Kwara State, Abiodun Oyeleye, who noted that the economic downturn may have contributed to the present ambience that characterised the Easter celebration, stated that Easter was usually celebrated with less fanfare than Christmas.
He said: “In most cases, Easter is often celebrated with less fanfare, compared to Christmas. This may be because during Christmas, we celebrate a birth, while during Easter, the focus is on the passion or sacrifice of Christ for the world. I think the economic situation in the country may only have added to the sublime atmosphere that usually surrounds Easter. Therefore, for someone like me, it is a very very low-key event as far as the festivity aspect of the time is concerned.
TribuneChurch visited some churches to see how the celebration to mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it was learnt that most of the churches embarked on series of prayers and church programmes to strengthen the faith of the Christian faithful to prepare them for the season.
Easter gives us hope that one day, we’ll overcome hardship —Anyatonwu
When TribuneChurch visited St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Kubwa, Abuja, the Parish Pastoral Council Public Relations Officer, Marcel Anyatonwu, stated that the present economic hardship reminded the church that Christ suffered, died and defeated death when he rose on the third day.
His words: “There is nobody in the country who the hardship is not affecting in one way or the other, but the degree differs. However, we will celebrate Easter. It is the joy of every Christian that Easter is here; we will celebrate it despite the hardship.
“What Easter reminds us of is more important than what we are going through. Christ himself went through this hardship for 40 days and, at last, he overcame death and resurrected, which is the joy for us. It is also a lesson for us that despite the hardships we are going through, our Easter is close at hand; we will resurrect with Christ, and the joy it brings is something to celebrate. So, it’s something that gives us hope that one day, we will overcome the hardship.”
In the same vein, chairman, Board of Church Warden, St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Kubwa, Emmanuel Eze, said despite the hardship, Christians need to prepare themselves spiritually and physically in order to celebrate the Easter.
“Easter is a celebration that is worth preparing for, because it comes once in a year, and it is a celebration that marks the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Despite the economic challenges, we still need to prepare and celebrate it spiritually and physically in the little way we can,” he stated.
Elder Anyebe Maben of the United Evangelical Church, said the importance of Easter celebration was to reflect on the salvation that was brought to Christians by the Lord Jesus Christ.
He said Christians should not be concerned about how much money they had to celebrate Easter, instead, they should be concerned about how much work they have done on behalf of the church.
“In a sense, the economy has never been good, but the economy of heaven does not have problems anytime; that’s why we are Christians. I think the imperative of Easter celebration to us is the salvation that comes with it. It’s not really about how much money you have in your pocket at a time, but how much work you have done for the church. I think that is very important.
“It is also important for people to know that when there are challenges, it is important to take the matter to God, that’s why people need to get closer to God.” Elder Maben noted.
We should trust God even in challenging times —Revd Udoyen
The Superintendent Pastor of United Evangelical Church, Kubwa, Reverend Akpan Udoyen, in his submission, said the economy of heaven was different from the economy of the country.
He therefore said even if the economy of the country could not provide for the people, the store house of God was inexhaustible.
“The economy of the church is not dependent on the economy of the government. We look through and depend fully on the economy of heaven; the store house of God is inexhaustible. The Bible says, you cannot please God except you prove to him by faith, so, by faith we believe He is providing for us and His provision never fails,” he said.
Chief John Amadi, who worships at Christ Anglican Church, Owerri, Imo State, who lamented the state of the polity, which he said had made things hard, called on government to look into developing policies that would make life easier for the people.
Pastor Emeka Nwulu of the RCCG in Owerri, Imo State, also called on government at all levels to ensure that workers are paid when due, noting that this would have ripple positive effect on the economy of the country and the church as well.