Religious leaders are encouraging Barbadians this Easter season to remain hopeful, exercise faith, and share with others, even as they continue to grapple with the rising cost of living and other issues plaguing society.
On the eve of Good Friday, Barbados TODAY spoke to several religious leaders who said Barbadians should reflect on what has been happening in their lives and in the country over the course of the next four days.
They said while some people may be going through a rough period, it was essential for them to recognise that others may be struggling to overcome even worse circumstances.
President of the Barbados Evangelical Association (BEA) Dr Nigel Taylor urged those who have the means to reach out and assist the needy in their communities as Christ would have done.
“One of the things that plague this society is this degree of selfishness – so, therefore, if it does not affect me it does not bother me. But in the Christian spirit, and more so in the spirit of what we celebrate at Easter time, we need to be more of a community. And I must say that churches have been trying to instil in their parishioners this whole oneness and to meet people where they are at,” he said, adding that people must recognise there is nothing they can do without the assistance of others.
The BEA president said that while people aspire to live in better circumstances, they should portray the virtues Jesus did.
“He gives the perfect example that he himself came to achieve for us and that sets the pattern for us to clearly understand that we need to look after our brothers and sisters.
“Now, we are in the particular stage where people have been crying out about high prices, crying out about the challenges that are with us. Barbadians need to take this period of time to seriously reflect on all that has transpired within their lives, with the lives of their neighbours and their country. We have to see how best we can merge the teachings that Christ would have given us – concepts such as not being selfish . . . . Barbadians need to continue to be their brother’s keeper, they need to be more vigilant and concentrate more on those who are perhaps lesser than themselves and look at families in communities who are in distress and the seniors in the community who may need assistance,” Dr Taylor urged.
Anglican Bishop, The Right Reverend Michael Maxwell, encouraged Barbadians to allow the light of Christ to shine from within and inspire and raise them to commit themselves to a way and quality of life that closely matches that of Christ, which benefits all.
“Like Jesus, we are to possess and be willing to pass on such an awareness or consciousness of who and whose we are, of our Creator God and the essence or way of life to which he has called us to live as revealed through his son Jesus Christ, our resurrected Lord.
“As his children, we are called to love him and to love and care for each other as we do for ourselves. We are to provide for those with great need, protect the vulnerable, and seek to alleviate the social challenges and conditions, which some people face. For these things to be realised, we need to encourage and support our leaders to address the unjust structures and inequalities in our society that foster discrimination, abuse, violence, prostitution, trafficking and crime,” Bishop Maxwell said.
He added: “We are also to be promoters of life and good stewards or caretakers of our environment, striving to protect ourselves from chronic health conditions, food shortages, contamination, and severe climate conditions. Living such a quality of life as children of light will allow the light of Christ to shine in our homes, in our schools, in our places of work, in our communities, in our nation, and the world.”
Executive Secretary of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (PAWI) Reverend Selwyn Brathwaite added that the life of Jesus carries the greatest message and mission.
He said Christians must, therefore, look at Jesus’ life and be assured that no matter what they may endure, once they stand by their spiritual conviction they will continue to be victorious.
“So the message for our nation is to always have hope because Jesus is the perfect example of victory over testing circumstances. Jesus’ life offers us hope. He went through different challenges and he came out victoriously so that we can do the same,” Reverend Brathwaite said.
President of the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SDA), Anthony Hall, said that while Christians are at this time observing that Jesus died and resurrected, they must apply and acknowledge the significance and meaning of the historical event to their lives and be transformed and changed because of it.
“So, it is not in commemoration of [in the way] we celebrate something like Independence or some historical day. It is to accept Christ, to accept what he has done through death, and to understand that through resurrection he has provided the path for us to experience the same spiritually and, at the appropriate time, literally as well. So, don’t just celebrate a date and remember an event; enter into the experience and make it real and personable for yourself,” he said. [email protected]