Easter people, merchants of hope, and 2023 elections
The crux of the Easter mystery is that Christians are redeemed to redeem.
As civilisations’ rise and fall depending on the quality of citizens, society stands in need of those transformed by the Easter mystery who, in appreciation of their salvation, deploy all resources in their arsenal to bring to bear the salvation so received in the world, and that’s how the universal government of creation runs. As such, the Easter mystery makes the kingdom of this world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ.
As the 2023 elections approach, Nigeria stands in eager expectation for the revelation of the children of God, of the Easter people (cf. Rom 8:19)―those who live in the world as light-bearers and merchants of hope. These Easter people actuate progress, peace, and prosperity through their active participation in the affairs of their society. So, the Easter hope is actuated when Easter people, who are saved to save the world, drawing from their Easter faith, work to realise a free, just, liveable, and prosperous society.
Most likely, this Easter would be the last Easter before the make-or-mar 2023 elections in Nigeria. After almost a decade of rapacious destruction of the commonwealth and dashing of hope, Nigeria has come to the brink in need of a messiah and saviour.
Without a concerted urgent intervention by the Easter people, Nigeria would likely be a nemesis of Africa. As an anti-fatalistic and anti-nihilistic affirmation of purpose-driven and telos-imbued creation, the Easter faith orients and motivates Christians to work for the salvation sorely needed by the world.
The Easter mystery is an eloquent demonstration that salvation comes from God, who saves and is ever saving with the agency of persons. Thus, in reaping the fruits of salvation wrought by Christ, we who are saved are empowered to be agents of the subjective manifestation of the objective salvation. In this way, the once-and-for-all Easter will bear its fruits in the life of the nation.
The Easter mission transforms our cosmo-vision from greed to generosity and unmasks our Adamic selfishness, which often disguises as generous and selfless service for the common good only to end up preying on the commonwealth. Such an attitude cumulatively harms the human community’s growth, peace, and development. But with their hearts seasoned and minds seized by the Easter mystery, Christians (Easter people) emit a great fire that charges others and illuminates the pathways and alleys of existence with virtues and values. Goodness spells the course of these great souls. They cultivate and edify the universal estate of God (creation) in their ceaseless reach to the divine Groom (the Risen One).
In many ways, these Easter people tick all the boxes with the deployment of spiritual resources, human resourcefulness, and technical ingenuity to develop human society. They appreciate that the concrete expression and manifestation of Alleluia are not words but deeds. In other words, the Easter songs of praise reach the zenith of their doxological quality when they unleash their power that transforms individuals to the glory of God and drives the transformed to transform society. At this terminus of transformed community, the glory of God, who instituted Easter for the redemption, salvation, and glorification of creation, becomes realised.
The human word (mythos) has to converge with the divine Word (Logos) for that to be so. Considering that Logos is at once word, meaning, event, and deed, one easily expects that the true Word of God (Logos) is concrete; He is a person. Logos of God is, therefore, the ensemble of the deeds of God, the instantiation of God’s goodness and knowledge.
Consequently, since mythos (human word) makes intelligible and available the divine Logos (Word), Easter praise is realised in converting our words of praise into deeds of benediction for all within the influence of such praise. Through that course, our Easter praise illuminates the paths of existence and fills it with Paschal glory with all its three-dimensional (3-D) signature, splendour, and grandeur. There is no Easter glory in society until the bearers of Easter hope cultivate a Paschal rebirth, renewal, and transformation in society.
This transformation begins with inserting oneself within the currency of the Paschal stream of grace, thereby submitting oneself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Risen One. Because they are harbingers of hope, Easter people are meliorists who are ascensional in orientation and disposition and invest in things that will engender the fullest possibilities of life and godliness.
True Easter people make era-defining impacts that trigger a culture change that promotes excellence. They activate the systems of development and heighten geo-socio-political endeavours, to combat the rapacious exploitation of humans and resources to the detriment of creation.
Easter is, therefore, a celebration of the Lord’s radical solidarity with humanity in her dark night of crisis and challenges to save her and reactivate the awareness of the Lord’s radical presence. It is a pedagogy of redemptive solidarity for humans necessary for existence, which flows from and wells up to the Resurrection of Christ. When lived as a gift that keeps giving and sacrifice that saves, Easter solidarity reveals the cosmic significance of the Resurrection of Christ. It is within this context that the Easter hope saves society. Because the ensemble of the complex challenges bedeviling humanity is overcome by the Easter mystery, which opens humans to a new life in God that renews and enables them to confront these challenges head-on, the gloom of humanity is through these engagements liquidated by the revelation of the children of God. Only in embodying the Easter hope and letting its transformative power bear in society can we hope that the Easter experience will be a resurrection experience for our dead and almost buried nation, Nigeria.
Though being an Easter hope radiating the Easter light in our province of influence entails suffering, we accept it as a necessary path to the arrival of Easter salvation. Although, in reality, suffering can be very discouraging, especially for public officials, it remains the only currency available to purchase victory over sin and death. No doubt, a Christian sufferer lives with hope and Easter hope. The Easter feast of the triumph of life over death offers a sufficient warrant to understand the true meaning of suffering in Christ’s offering — our hope and salvation.
Easter people are hope-bearing agents for the world in need of salvation. Where others take pride in disrespect, Easter people treat everyone with honour and regard; where selfishness rules, Easter people lead by sacrifice; where others destroy with anger, Easter people heal with patience; where others are filled with rage and hate, Easter people conquer with love; where others breed animosity, bigotry, and nepotism, Easter people practice love, forgiveness, and trust; where others live in distrust, pride, and fear, Easter people breathe in the fresh air of humility, confidence, and selflessness. Indeed, where others sow confusion, Easter people sow understanding.
In sum, the Easter life is a triumph of life over death, generosity over meanness, love over hate, kindness over jealousy, sweetness over bitterness, forgiveness over animosity, humility over pride, and selflessness over greed. It contradicts hate, divisiveness, parochialism, consumerism, ethnic chauvinism, religious bigotry, nepotism, marginalisation, embezzlement, injustice, meanness, envy, bitterness, and pettiness.
As 2023 approaches, Nigerians are ever more convinced that nothing escapes the reach of God’s grace and nothing falls outside His providence. Still, they need to appreciate that God’s salvation will have to come through the identification of Easter people, those who bear, sell and translate hope and entrust them with the political power and commonwealth. So, for Nigeria to experience a new and transformed life, she has to elect quality leaders and merchants of hope. It is an Easter duty for all Christians.
• Rev. Father George Adimike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org