Don't allow commercialisation to redefine Easter (Thursday, April 2, 2015) page 16

Members of the clergy have asked Ghanaians not to allow the commercialisation of the Easter season to redefine what the celebration means.

They urged the public to rather use the Easter season as a period of reflection, forgiveness, renewal, reconciliation and dedication of their lives to God.

In messages that also touched on some salient issues of national interest, the clergy also called on Ghanaians to put national interest above all others.

Leaders from the National Peace Council, the Global Evangelical Church, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Bishops Conference and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana all urged the public to see the festivities as a period to renew their commitment to God. 
Easter celebrations 

Easter is celebrated annually to symbolically mark the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is typically marked with well-attended church services that start on Good Friday, the day Jesus died. 
Christians believe that through His death, burial, and resurrection,  Jesus paid the penalty for sin and through that purchased for all who believe in Him eternal life. 

Across Ghana, the solemn mood on Good Friday and Holy Saturday gives way to fun on Monday as revellers take over the beaches and other social centres, while some churches organise picnics for their members.  

The Chairman of the National Peace Council, the Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Kwaku Asante, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that it was the commercialisation of Easter festivities that push drivers into a rush, leading to the endangering of people’s lives on the roads. 

Easter and immorality 

While admitting that some Ghanaians used the occasion to return to their communities to plan their contribution to the development of those places, such trips should bring honour to God.

According to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), road users were most vulnerable during Easter and Christmas festivities, as drivers tried to cash in on the festivities by speeding and carrying out other forms of indiscipline on the roads. 

In some areas where the Easter has been hyped beyond the church, the celebrations have become associated with immoral acts, including indecent dressing and sexual immorality.

The situation was so bad that in 2013, the Kwahu Development Association served notice that it would not tolerate "indecent dressing and any behaviour that offend cultural and moral values" by holiday revelers during that year’s Easter festivities in the area.

The Most Rev. Prof. Asante, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana, called for a change in attitude because “Easter is not meant for immorality. Christ came to die for our sins to bring about the purity of life. The immoral person who believes in Christ Jesus dies to immorality and rises to purity of live. Therefore, immorality and Easter celebrations do not go together”.

He, therefore, called on Ghanaians to renew their commitment to God and the country and do things that would bring honour to God, their fellow human beings and to themselves. 

Christian Council

The Christian Council, for its part, asked the nation to see the occasion as an opportunity to unite as one people, irrespective of their political and religious affiliations and social and economic status.

“It is only through unity that comes through grace and mercy that we can develop as a people,” a statement signed by the General Secretary of the council, Rev Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, said. 

In that regard, it said “we should begin to find better ways of engaging in national issues. Politicians, churches, students, families, businesses, faith groups, etc should all find a more peaceful and productive way of engaging on issues that affect them.

“As we reflect on the essence of Easter, we urge religious groups, politicians, the government and social organisations not to talk at one another. 

“Instead, they should talk with one another in addressing issues that affect them and our nation out of grace and mercy,” it said. 

Global Evangelical Church  
Adding his voice to the call, the Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church, the Rt Rev Dr Edem Tettey, said the central theme for Easter was forgiveness.  

“One way to overcome many of our national challenges is to extend forgiveness to one another. It is not easy but God will help us do it. In the midst of suffering, Christ prayed for those who crucified Him that God should forgive them, for they know not what they do.

“God, through His own initiative, provided a means whereby man can be forgiven for his sins. This is good news. Through Christ, my sins, as well as yours, can be completely forgiven and I can have peace and be at peace with God. As we receive forgiveness from God, we are expected for forgive one another. 

“When you forgive someone, you release him of her from the power of guilt and you offer that person peace. The state of guilt is counter-productive. It affects performance in many areas of human endeavour,” he said.

Action Chapel  International 

For his part, the Founder of the ACI, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, prophesied “ God's protection over the length and breadth of Ghana, over the airways, highways and borders of Ghana. Let there be protection for all travelers during this season.”

“I release the resurrection power of God upon the political, financial and socio-economic scene of  Ghana.” 

“I enforce and superimpose God's original agenda over every other agenda for Ghana. Nothing but God's prophetic agenda for Ghana will be established. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command deliverances from all evil for our nation Ghana,” Archbishop Duncan-Williams who is also the Chairman of the National Association of Chrismatic and  Christian Churches said. 

Evangelical Presbyterian Church

For the Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Rt Rev. Dr Seth S. Agidi, the Easter season was a period for people to self-appraise and re-examine their lives to assess where they had fallen short and pray vehemently for forgiveness.

“Easter serves as a period for us to rededicate our lives to God. As humans, we often fall prey to evil deeds because we rarely submit to the Holy Spirit to guide us,” he told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra. 

“Our lives have been corrupted with greed, hatred, fraud, falsehood and many other acts of misconduct that are not worthy of the lives of children of God,” he added. 

Catholic Bishops Conference

In a statement issued to mark the celebrations, the Catholic Bishops Conference urged Ghanaians to see themselves as members of one family and live in unity. 

“The peace that Christ gives at Easter should make us rise above all negative or harmful tendencies and see ourselves as members of one nation,” it said.

It challenged Ghanaians to avoid immoral acts, including the use of illicit drugs, Internet fraud and other forms of fraud that were destroying the nation. 

Anointed One Presby Church

The Minister in charge of the Anointed One Presbyterian Church, Sakumono Main, Rev. Emmanuel Adu Tetteh,  urged humanity to use the celebration of Easter to reconcile with one another and live as one people.

“Let us unite, for unity is strength. In unity we can fight our common enemy as a country, which is underdevelopment,” he said.

He advised Christians to exchange “enmity for friendship, hatred for love and antagonism for unity”. 

Charismatic Redemption Ministries
In a statement, Rev Francis Adjei, the General Overseer of the Charismatic Redemption Ministries in Accra, said the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ should be marked with love and joy. 

“May our lives be touched by the true meaning of the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said in a statement to mark the occasion. 
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