April 13, 2017
My dearly beloved people,
We are thankful to God for bringing us again to witness the celebration of the paschal feast of our Lord culminating in the feast of his resurrection. This is indeed by His grace and mercy.
This time as we celebrate we are mindful of the precarious state of our country and the critical economic situation of the numerous citizens of our country of which Christian brothers and sisters are a significant part. While the economic situation has been put down to economic recession, the insecurity of life and property is attributable to the menace of Fulani herdsmen and other forms of killing and wanton destruction that have pervaded our country in recent years.
It is particularly disturbing that despite repeated appeals government has still not been able to stem this evil tide. It is worrisome that government is shirking in its key responsibility of providing security for its citizens, especially by disarming the Fulani herdsmen.
Added to these is the unprecedented level of youth unemployment that has come to characterize this generation.
As we journey through the Holy week into Easter, the resurrection of our Lord, the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness must be instructive to us as Christians in times like this. The journey to the promised land was a long and torturous one. The people lacked in food and water, they faced various attacks from the enemies in the wilderness. They also faced the Egyptian army pursuing them to the Red Sea all of which threatened their loyalty and faith in God. Yet God demonstrated His presence with them as the I AM THAT I AM, the unchanging and unfailing God, who knew the situation of His people; the God who declared that ‘The cry of my people has ascended to me’ (Ex. 3: 7-9), intervened to deliver them, and finally took them to the Promised Land. The salvation was unprecedented; God took His children through and brought them salvation.
As we celebrate this Easter, we are reminded and comforted by the fact that in Christ, the I AM THAT I AM deliberately bore the sins and pains of His people. And while He endured all pains because of them, death did not see his end. Rather by rising on the Easter morning we are guaranteed victory over the affliction, sufferings and troubles of this present time. Christ gives us victory all round.
Therefore, we wish to encourage and admonish you during this celebration, not to lose hope because of all these challenges; but to exercise faith and hope in the God of the resurrection, confident that the God of the resurrection, the I AM THAT I AM is with us and will deliver us and give us victory in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
As we celebrate, may we be mindful of those who have lost loved ones or have been displaced as a result of terrorist attacks, acts of suicide bombers and the menace of the Fulani herdsmen. Let us pray for healing and comfort of the Holy Spirit and above all that government might have the political will and courage to stem these menace, and that the LORD will indeed by His resurrection bring us joy and eternal victory here and in the world to come.
To you all, Archbishops and Bishops, Clergy and Laity and the entire Church, I say, Happy Easter.
Christ has risen!
He is risen indeed!
The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh, MA, Fss, Mss, LLD
Archbishop, Metropolitan & Primate