(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Archbishop of Lokoja Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Lokoja Anglican diocese, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu has described the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the affirmation of Heaven to the price paid on the cross. He gave this description during the presentation of his Bishop’s charge delivered to the first session of the eighth synod, which was held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Felele, Lokoja. The Bishop said that the resurrection brought the power for the proclamation of the gospel message and the power to triumph over death, explaining that it was after Jesus’ resurrection that His disciples received the charge to proclaim the gospel and victory over death. According to the Cleric, death is no longer to be dreaded by believers, because for them it has become a journey to a better place.
Speaking on the theme, “The Power of His Resurrection,” as culled from Philippians 3:10, Archbishop Egbunu explained that the theme became essential due to the rampant grief being experienced in the diocese, the state and the nation. He noted that it was his pastoral duty to enlighten and remind believers of the Christian hope that they have as a result of Christ’s resurrection, to enable them deal with death from the Biblical perspective. He said that Christians must be able to put physical death in its right context, in the sense that they are willing to face it without fear or the hopelessness that is often felt by unbelievers, who do not have the hope of eternal life. Hence, he emphasized the need for Christians to like Christ, die fully at peace with God and like Paul, the writer of the text, desire to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Quoting profusely from the scriptures, the Bishop of Lokoja diocese explained that the power of the resurrection gives the believer strength and inspiration to persevere through the challenges faced as a result of living the life of Christ – the crucified life, here on earth. According to him, “To talk of belonging to Christ and not being prepared to live the crucified life that leads to the resurrection life amounts to a contradiction in terms, as far as the New Testament Christianity is concerned.” He pointed out that the power of the resurrection was beyond the practice of religion that lacked the power to transform the heart of man or make him at peace with God. He described this power as one that regenerates the mind of any man, overcomes death, and grants one the power to live a purposeful life of victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. He said that it gives Christians the power to live sacrificial lives and be confident as they go out on evangelism. Therefore, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu concluded the synod theme with the prayer that God should make the power of the resurrection dominate their lives as they live for Him.
On the state of the Nigerian nation, Archbishop Egbunu congratulated the President and his team on their election victory and further urged the government to take necessary precautions in ensuring the security of lives and property of the Nigerian populace. He noted that the increasing attacks of the Fulani herdsmen must be taken seriously as it is becoming too sophisticated that it is raising more suspicions of a hidden agenda. He called on the government to pay more attention to the educational sector of the country, stating that several institutions have dilapidated buildings crammed to the full, with students and lecturers who are frequently on strike for prolonged periods of time. Lastly, the Bishop of Lokoja charged the Christian community to pray for this administration, calling on God to in His mercy intervene and grant Kogi state and the nation as a whole the true change and transformation that it needs.