Easter, the celebration that marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after his crucifixion on the Cross of Calvary and death on Good Friday, is the most important event in Christendom, the principal and greatest feast of the ecclesiastical year. It is the belief of adherents to the Faith that if Jesus had not resurrected on the third day as he promised, may be Christianity itself would have faced a tremendous challenge of credibility. Easter strengthens the average Christian’s belief in life everlasting. Its importance can be gleaned from the fact that Christmas, an event that is the first step in the salvation journey, is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. As the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year, the order of other feasts depend upon the Easter date. It is the commemoration of the slaying of the true Lamb of God and the Resurrection of Christ, the corner-stone upon which faith is built, the oldest feast of the Christian Church and the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments. The connection between the Jewish Passover and the Christian feast of Easter is real and ideal. Real, since Christ died on the first Jewish Easter Day; ideal, like the relation between type and reality, because Christ’s death and Resurrection had their figures and types in the Old Law, particularly in the paschal lamb.
Preparation for Easter, for a section of the Christian world, begins on Ash Wednesday and goes through 40 days of praying, fasting, abstinence and almsgiving that ends on Good Friday. Within this Easter season is the Holy Week, part of which is the Triduum, three days before Easter, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the apogee of the whole spiritual exercise during which Jesus instituted the Priestly Order, the Last Supper also known as the Holy Communion or Holy Eucharist and brought to an end His earthly life when He pronounced on the Cross of Calvary that ‘it is finished’ and the beginning of man’s effort to be like the Master. Easter offers believers an opportunity to appreciate the enormity of the contradiction embedded in St Paul’s assertion that ‘to die is to gain’. That Jesus died and is glorified within the Easter period offers believers a unique time to reflect on the immensity of the mystery of life everlasting.
For us as Nigerians, however, it is instructive that we, as a people, are entering a fresh phase of politicking as part of efforts on our part to consolidate on the gains of democracy so far achieved. As in the events that culminated in the resurrection: the fear, the anxiety and expectations that the disciples of Jesus went through, Nigerians are beginning to wonder, with apprehension and immeasurable trepidation, about the outcome of the forthcoming campaigns and the subsequent election. As the apostles of Jesus celebrated His defeat of death as exemplified in the resurrection, so also are Nigerians hoping to rise above the years of despondency to those of excitement and a new lease of life in the hope that the promises by the politicians will exit the sphere of rhetoric into reality. Easter gives the faithful hope in the second coming of the Messiah so also are Nigerians hoping with bated breath for the actualisation of the promises of electioneering and the joy that comes with good governance.