Headline: Easter: The Goodluck We All Need

Posted on: 2015-04-19

Milestones of history

Some moments in victory are too beautiful to be forgotten but there can be also some moments in defeat that are too beautiful to be forgotten. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has lost the Presidential elections in Nigeria as an incumbent president. That is a very bad position to lose from and there must have been very ugly moments in the contest for him and for his People's Democratic Party. However when the President, soon after defeat became obvious, called up his opponent, General Muhammadu Buhari of  the All Peoples Congress to accept defeat and congratulate him, he created for Nigerians and for posterity one moment in his defeat that would become for posterity a landmark of history, one that is too beautiful to be forgotten. It was the first time ever that an incumbent President would lose elections in Nigeria and the first time that the loser would peacefully admit defeat. The President said as he has said several times before, that the ambition of any politician was not worth the blood of any Nigerian. His gesture took much bite off the backlash of violence, protests and street fights which many feared would follow any such upset in Nigeria. This kind of goodluck is indeed what we  need in Nigeria today for a smooth transition and maturation of democracy. If Nigerians did not think that President Jonathan's name "goodluck" made any sense in real terms, here was a positive and successful demonstration that his name really brings positive and progressive change. He who laughs last, laughs best.

The goodluck of salvation

Surely more important than the goodluck of a peaceful transition however is the good luck we all need to attain our salvation. The mere thought of salvation underlines man's hope that evil will never have the final word in God's world. The average human being wakes up every day looking forward to better times not only in his day-to-day business but also in his eventual end. As holy Job said in the Old Testament: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and he, the last, will take his stand on earth. I will be there behind my skin, and in my flesh I shall see God. With my own eyes I shall see him - I and not another. How my heart yearns" (Job 19:25-27). The longing for God is innate in all human beings and all genuine religious endeavour is meant to draw them closer to God, the object of their longing. So did David express himself: "My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life. When can I enter and see the face of God" (Ps.42:3). That same desire was captured by St Augustine who declared that our souls shall remain restless until they come to rest in the living God. Saint Paul made it even clearer in his letter to the Romans: "Consider moreover the time that Christ died for us: when we were still helpless and unable to do anything. Few would accept to die for an upright person; ...But see how God manifested his love for us: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and we have become just through his blood" (Rom. 5:6-9).

The cost of true discipleship

The truth is that if the coming of Jesus Christ had not been real, humanity would have had to invent it. For how would we have coped with that strong compulsion to be lifted up, to be redeemed and to be translated to a higher, better plane of existence! The experience of Peter on the occasion of the Transfiguration speaks to that compulsion. Having seen the Lord transfigured in his splendor, Peter proposed the idea of no longer returning to the drudgery of the world and to dwell evermore with Jesus in glory. Though Jesus would have none it, he told his disciples exactly what they had to do be part of his resurrection and victory: "If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. For whoever chooses to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt. 16: 24 -25). It is really not possible to be truly Christian without putting this dimension of the journey to the resurrection into consideration.

The gains of true discipleship

But true discipleship is not all about giving without getting.  In fact, Easter is the assurance that for those who struggle to follow Jesus on the right but tedious way of the cross, there is a crown at the end of their tribulations in the world. The great Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote: "Scarred men come for healing only to scarred hands! Only a Risen Christ with Scars can understand our hearts. This is not an age of wars but an age of scars. We all have scars! Everybody! Scars in bodies - the wounds of war; scars on souls - the wounds of godlessness. Scars of hate fear anxiety, melancholy, bitterness!". Archbishop Sheen was right! No one can claim to live a painless, trouble free life here on earth. Christians, especially do not have things easy in these contemporary times. G.K Chesterton once wrote: "These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own". Chesterton did not say that was a good thing. He actually implied that all those who believe in Jesus' death and resurrection need to put more effort into authentic living, praising God with their live and singing their alleluia in a resounding manner as witness to the Lord. This is Easter! Jesus is risen, death is defeated forever. That doubtlessly, is the manner of good luck we all need most here and hereafter.