Today is one of the biggest feasts in the Church calendar, the feast of Easter. It is a day on which churches of all denominations throughout Uganda will be filled to the maximum with jubilant Christians who will gather to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead after three days in a tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea.
As a young man, I often marvelled at the man who had the courage, compassion and decency to go to the vicious Roman authorities and ask for the body of one of their prisoners whom they had just crucified I believed that he would be rewarded handsomely in heaven by God.
Easter is the climax of Holy Week which began with Palm Sunday and ends today its lowest and darkest point was the day Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified on a cross by evil men a bad day which the Church calls Good Friday.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the core of Christian belief and doctrine. The apostle Paul wrote with a sense of finality that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, our faith and hope in eternal life is in vain!
Palm Sunday marks the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem on a donkey wananchi spread their garments and palm leaves to give the King who came in the name of the Lord a befitting welcome, the modern equivalent of a red carpet treatment. When the pious and self-righteous Pharisees urged Jesus to command his disciples to keep quiet and not disturb the peace, Jesus told them “I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones themselves will start shouting.” Luke 19:40 (GNB)
Someone should quote that to the Ugandan police next time they harass and teargas innocent citizens exercising their constitutional and human right to demonstrate peacefully on the streets of Kampala, Mbale or Arua.
At a personal level, Good Friday reminds me of the passing on of my dear mother who died on Good Friday of 2003, barely a day or two after I returned to Kampala from Geneva, Switzerland, where I had gone to represent Uganda at a United Nations conference. It was a strange, but blessed coincidence that my mum who was a devout Christian went to be with the Lord on Good Friday. We buried her on Easter Monday.
I thank God for my mother whose love for me was abiding, deep and unconditional her calm demeanour and remarkable example has had a lasting and positive impact on me. Only God loves me more than my mother. May her soul rest in eternal peace!
Heroes of Good Friday and Easter
Apart from Joseph of Arimathea and Simon of Cyrene in North Africa, whom the Roman soldiers grabbed and forced to carry the cross of Jesus to Golgotha, most of the heroes of the most difficult and trying time in the ministry of Jesus Christ were women.
All the disciples and other men who regularly followed Jesus suddenly vanished, including the tough-talking Simon Peter who had vowed to stand by his master up to the bitter end. When the hour of reckoning came, Simon Peter, the rock, denied Jesus Christ three times, before a cock rudely reminded him of what Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny him. The big man broke down, went out and wept bitterly like a little boy! His tragedy reminds me of what the psalmist wrote:
“And in my dismay I said, all men are liars.” Psalm 116:11 (NIV). It is a portion scripture men, especially male clergy, are uncomfortable with, for obvious reasons.
Judas Iscariot who was the treasurer among the 12 disciples and sat close to Jesus at the Last Supper betrayed his master for 30 pieces of silver but unlike Ugandan traitors, such as those who shamelessly betrayed Uganda for a mere Shs5 million each in 2005 to remove the term limits, he took a rope and hung himself after returning the blood money the enemies of our Lord had paid to him for doing a dirty job! The Ugandan traitors have so far done non of the above.
According to Matthew “Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Jose, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.” Matthew 27:55-56 (NIV).
Jesus Christ’s mother, Mary, was at Golgotha to share the agony of her son on the cross. Jesus spoke to his mother and entrusted her to one of the disciples, probably John. It must have been a heart-breaking experience for Mary, but where was Joseph the carpenter? Scripture does not tell us.
Three days later on Easter, it was once again the women who went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus which had been laid there on that dark Friday of the crucifixion.
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.” One wonders where the men were hiding!
When some men try to deny women their rightful place in Church hierarchy as priests, bishops and archbishops, they should be reminded of the ignominious role men played during our Lord’s passion, crucifixion and resurrection.
It took many years of struggle, but I am glad the Church of England has finally enthroned a woman bishop and it was most fitting that the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York, the Most Rev John Sentamu, presided over the historic event.
The Church of Uganda should follow that good example. I challenge my home diocese, the Diocese of West Nile, to select only female candidates for election by the House of Bishops when my good friend, Bishop Joel Obetia retires in the near future. There are many capable and suitable women clergy from West Nile who can fill the Rt Rev Dr Joel Obetia’s shoes.
May I wish our readers a Blessed and Happy Easter!
Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat. firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Daily Monitor