Leaders of Christian organisations have asked their followers and members of the public to use this year’s Easter festivities to reflect on national challenges and lead lives that will help build a united country.
They observed that although Easter was a religious festival for Christians to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ, it was equally a period for concerted efforts to be made to build bridges at all levels of national life.
In separate statements to the Daily Graphic yesterday, the leaders urged members of the public to stay away from negative attitudes and tendencies that were inimical to national development.
The Christian groups are the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC).
The President of the GCBC, the Most Rev. Philip Naameh; the Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCG, Rt Rev. Professor Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, and the President of the GPCC, Rev. Prof. Paul Frimpong-Manso, signed the statements for their respective groups.
The GCBC called on Ghanaians to use the celebration of Easter to rise above all negative or harmful tendencies and see themselves as members of one nation.
“As members of the one family of Ghanaians, let us realise that there is the need for us to live in unity and peace. As Christians and children of God, we should realise, as St Paul says, that ‘There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28),” it said.
It urged Ghanaians to eschew all ethnocentric tendencies, actions and statements that would not bring peace to the country.
The message noted that the first gift of the risen Christ to His disciples was peace and, therefore, urged Ghanaians to pray for and work towards the realisation of peace in all sectors of their lives.
They must also put an end to everything that did not promote peace, especially conflict and violence, it said.
It said the celebration of Easter offered Ghanaians hope that their situation would never remain the same.
“It is our prayer that the Risen Lord will help us overcome these hardships and that the vulnerable, especially children, women and the elderly, will be protected from exploitation and desertion,” it said.
The GCBC also expressed concern about the rising incidence of youth unemployment and called on the government and the private sector to help find practical solutions to that phenomenon, knowing that unemployment could lead and often led to many of the youth engaging in criminal activities, including cyber fraud, armed robbery, prostitution, among other vices.
On the moral front, the message said if Ghanaians had died and risen with Christ, then they should put an end to immoral acts.
“We need to put an end to corruption, immoral sexual living, the embezzlement of public funds, armed robbery, the taking of illicit drugs, drunkenness, reckless driving, Internet fraud and other forms of fraud that are destroying the nation.
“It is our prayer that the resurrection of Christ will help us rise above these and other evils and live better lives as Ghanaians,” it said.
The PCG, in its message, said it was important for Christians to reflect on the death of Jesus and stay away from negative behaviours such as greed, hatred, envy and vindictiveness and work towards virtues that promoted national unity and cohesion.
“We all seem to blame Judas for the death of Jesus so much so that most people will not dare name their children as Judas, thinking that Judas is the most wicked person in the world. But we must note that through the story of Judas, God wants to teach us that greed is the number one destroyer of life and of communities in this world,” the message said.
It observed that violence and conflicts in the political, social and economic spaces resulting from the insatiable desire to gain undue advantage over others ought to be shelved in the interest of the country.
Rev. Prof. Mante, who signed the message, also urged Christians to avoid the tendency of amassing material wealth on a silver platter.
“Easter teaches us that no great thing is achieved without some sacrifice. For a community, church or nation to progress, somebody or some people must be willing to sacrifice and suffer now,” he said.
The message called on members of the public to use the Easter festivities as an opportunity to inculcate the virtue of forgiveness, saying it was “the greatest medicine” for national development.
For its part, the GPCC underscored the need for the Easter season to be used for reconciliation and renewing of stale relationships.
Its statement to the Daily Graphic said it was when people forgave one another and worked together in unity that the country could progress.
“The world today must accept the message of reconciliation between God and humans and also between one human being and another. This message of reconciliation means the healing of our broken relationships and overcoming our hostilities towards one another and seeking the welfare of our neighbours,” it said.
It called on Christians to use the Easter season to confess their sins and also show love to other people.
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