It is often said that “God is a Bajan”.
On more than one occasion in the past, usually when the island has been spared some major calamity or is otherwise the beneficiary of a significant piece of good fortune, some people in this country have not been afraid to utter that phrase.
Other Barbadians state, sometimes with pride, that there is a rum shop at every corner and one could easily say the same about churches.
That’s the case even though these days youngsters attending Sunday school is in many instances no longer a mandatory thing.
By and large Barbados is still considered a “Christian society”, one that is God fearing, a place where the longstanding and once dominant Anglican Church has had to share religious space with numerous other denominations. Such is the nature of this 166 square miles we all home. Or is it really?
As Christians worldwide and Barbadians at home and abroad now reflect on the most important time on the church’s calendar, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can’t help but wonder about the seriousness with which the more than quarter of a million people who occupy this island now regard such an important occasion.
Over the past few years some Barbadians have, through no deliberate action of their own, had to struggle through difficult economic times — some have lost their jobs, others have lost their businesses.
But what about those fortunate ones for whom it has been business as usual, who seemingly do not have a care in the world?
We are not picking on those considered “better off”. Rather, our query has to do with the extent to which Barbadians generally have begun to take things for granted, and how this relates to the extent to which we as citizens are giving as much as we can. Are we sacrificing enough? Can we afford to give more?
Jesus’ painful death on the cross is widely regarded as the ultimate sacrifice. Here was a man who could have saved his own skin, who in the face of treachery, betrayal and lies gave of his life so we all could live. That, of course, is if you believe in the Christian faith.
And all of this was preceded by a period of sacrifice and avoidance of temptation over 40 days
Perhaps we might be overreacting, but it does appear that many Barbadians have lost touch with the real meaning of the Lenten and Easter Season.
If we are not careful a new generation of people will grow up in this country thinking of Easter simply as a time to fly kites, eat fish and consume hot cross buns. For them church will be merely a place where you attend funerals and weddings. Of course Easter and Lent are not unique in this regard as the gift buying and over indulgence at Christmas have shown repeatedly.
It’s a time when for too many Santa Claus has replaced Jesus Christ, when thoughts of the Saviour being born in a manger are replaced by neatly wrapped gifts beneath a Christmas tree with twinkling lights and pretty ornaments.
With the solemnity of Good Friday tomorrow and celebration of Easter Sunday to follow two days later, it is the perfect opportunity for Barbadians to reflect on the seriousness, or lack therefore, with which we treat such issues. God is probably a Bajan, just as he is a West Indian, an African, an American, an Asian, a Hispanic.
While we do not expect everyone to suddenly start attending church in droves, the important thing is for each of us in our little way to sacrifice that little bit more, to work harder at our jobs, to care more about our elderly neighbour living alone, to be less critical of those we do not agree with while simultaneously being open to alternative views.
In these times of constant negativity and fears of things becoming worse, these are the things that could make the difference. It’s time for more give and less take.
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