Our Easter experience

ON page 12, we carry a message from the Archbishop of Suva, His Grace Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.

Through it, he makes several strong statements, one being the role of women in the mission of Jesus, their importance demonstrated in the roles they played leading up to the crucifixion and death of Jesus to his resurrection.

The archbishop calls his Christian sisters and brothers to be agents of change, Fiji being a patriarchal society, that there be a shift in our cultural attitudes, in how we view women.

He also makes a strong statement in saying “We should no longer be silent in the face of sexual abuse and prophetically denounce it as evil”.

Archbishop Chong also makes the point that for the celebration of Easter to have meaning, an event that happened more than 2000 years ago must have relevance to the very real questions, problems and anxieties of our time.

Here in Fiji that would definitely include the message of Easter dealing with problems such as people not really caring about their environment, not caring for their fellow human beings — especially women given the almost daily reporting of sexual crimes against women and children, and the list goes on.

On Friday, we carried the 2018 Easter message from the president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, the Reverend Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa, which was titled “Culture of love”.

How do we show those who are not as fortunate as us that they are surrounded by those who practise a loving culture?

How do we show this culture, and its benefits to those who are not the same colour as us, those not of the same religious denomination, or not of the same sexual orientation, political inclination, do not speak the same dialect or language, or to those who flatly deny the existence of God? And to not only do it during Easter or that other very important Christian holy day, Christmas, but also on every day in between.

That’s the challenge from the perspective of two church leaders in our country which would be greatly beneficial if was internalised and made our own.

Maybe, a good place to start is the liturgical season just before Easter, Lent, where the faithful give up a practice which hindered their relationship with God, and by extension, those around them.

Having abandoned those harmful practices and rising with the Risen Christ this Easter, the focus can shift to improving another area of their lives so that they are not only better Christians, but also better human beings.

That would be a really meaningful Easter experience. And you definitely do not have to be a Christian to have such an experience all throughout the year.

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