Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Inspiration from Easter


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THE?FAMILY OF THE BARBADOS LABOUR PARTY joins the majority of Barbadians and millions of Christians across the globe in celebrating Easter, the greatest festival on the Christian calendar.
This festival provides the opportunity for us to reflect on the life and times of a man who by his life of ministry and sacrifice revolutionized the world and has left for all mankind a legacy which has endured more than 2 000 years of unceasing challenge.
It has become fashionable to see this great festival in terms of the rituals and symbols which our 21st century way of life engenders, inclusive of the vacation specials, entertainment, sporting opportunities and all that makes the average holiday period “enjoyable”.
Instead, it is a time for sober reflection and yet great celebration, given the historical context and global significance of the true meaning and relevance of Easter. To believe that the message of this premier Christian festival is limited to the observance of an historical event is to miss the message of hope, refreshment and renewal which Easter signifies, even as our country bears the weight of the greatest uncertainty and hopelessness ever to be visited upon it since universal adult suffrage.
We must never forget that Easter was preceded by a number of significant events, including Jesus’ earthly ministry, his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, his betrayal and trial, which were characterized by humiliation of the grossest form, and, worst of all, the indignity of being forsaken by the same Palm Sunday crowd that had just sung their hosannas in praise and adoration for the great work he was doing for the poor and downtrodden.
The fickleness of human nature, however, was to prove that might could seemingly triumph over right, as was the case when the crowd chose the notorious thief Barabbas over the Son of God.
The crowd of that day was manipulated by men of power, privilege and governmental authority who saw Jesus and his teaching as a threat to their hypocrisy, corruption and religious fanaticism. His crucifixion on that first Good Friday was meant to be the end of the great work to which he had committed himself and in the eyes of those whose iniquitous way of life was exposed by his courageous teaching and leadership, death on Calvary’s cross was seen as a fitting end.
Contrary to their short-lived victory and belief, Jesus emerged victoriously from the tomb, and the world has never been the same.
Easter therefore is significantly more than rituals and customs. It is about transformation of the human condition to the extent that ordinary men and women can draw inspiration from the life and times of the Son of Man, who has taught that to love God and our neighbour as we love ourselves is fundamental to eternal life.
His ministry was not limited to the safe confines of existing forms of religious acceptability. Rather, he demonstrated the unrelenting determination to feed the hungry, give sight to the blind, identify with the needs of the downtrodden, disadvantaged, dispossessed and socially outcast.   
Jesus opposed hypocrisy, the misuse of power and authority and, above all, he believed that all men, women and children were equal in the sight of God.
Our challenge this Eastertide is to be inspired by the hope of victory over injustice and wickedness in high places and to see a brighter tomorrow in spite of today’s adversity.
A blessed Easter to all.
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.


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