Once again Christians across the world celebrate Easter or as it is referred to in Hebrew by the term Pesach and rendered in Greek and Latin as Pascha.
The term Pascha is derived from Paul’s use of the term in 1 Corinthians:
“For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5: 7 – 8
In the Old Testament we read that with the tenth plague forthcoming, the children of Israel are given specific instructions.
They were to take a year-old male lamb, called “the passover lamb,” which was to be slaughtered in the evening of the fourteenth day of the lunar month.
Along with this, they were to smear its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses and to eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread while keeping watch in the night for the Lord to carry out his promise of destroying all the firstborn of Egypt. “It is the Lord’s Passover.” (Exodus 12:21-27)
The Passover was not meant to be death dealing, but rather life giving to those who had carried out those commands.
In the Gospel according to St. John it was St. John the Baptist who recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God:
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John1:29)
As we celebrate Easter we give thanks to God for the Lamb that was slain and now according to the Revelation to John is worthy “to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)
Our celebration of the passage of the Lamb of God from death to life eternal at Easter and beyond also speaks to the passage of all humanity to new life in Christ.
Easter is an important statement both theologically and sociologically for indeed it says that we must give up the old ways, the bad practices and habits we withheld during Lent and continue to work on those virtues that make for good and godly living in community.
This leads to transformation within our society as we make the determination to address the issues that confront us and learn to manage the new duties and responsibilities of Twenty-first Century living.
The Barbados Christian Council along with other faith-based organisations is always prepared to assist our nation as we face those issues. It will be vital to involve the theological and spiritual mind of the Church at national levels in order to ensure that the religious and spiritual values that we hold dear as Barbadians will be pursued.
We pray for our young people and for home and family life, that we all may be strengthened, resilient and hopeful at this joyful Eastertide.
Have a blessed Easter.
The Rev’d Canon Noel A. Burke