Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes
President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
On the Occasion of Easter 2018
Easter is the principal and oldest festival of the Christian Church. The resurrection of Jesus Christ Our Lord, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of Christian faith and celebration is fitting because Easter, with its guarantee of acceptance, hope and an eternity of joy, follows a period of anguish, rejection and despondency.
While Christmas with all its hype might appear to non-Christians as more significant, Easter with its message of rebirth and consequent redemption from sin is the bedrock of Christian belief. It signifies Christ’s victory over sin, evil, death and the grave and gives to all believers assurance of eternal life which is the source of our hope in this life.
One of the benefits of living in a multi-religious society such as ours is that we can all extract the essence of the beliefs of others and discover its relevance to us. While this might happen by sheer osmosis, the teaching of comparative religion in our schools can bring a richer and more complete understanding of the beliefs, practices and fundamental philosophy of the faiths that co-exist in our shared space.
Easter might have significance to non-Christians. Given the state of our society, we need exemplars or superheroes who model for us how we might handle pain, disappointment and a feeling of hopelessness.
The Easter narrative can be helpful, whether or not one believes the story to be true, if one focuses on the allegory. Easter teaches us that success is not necessarily about conspicuous worldly achievement but rather about the ability to use personal suffering as a springboard to compassion.
Another take-away is standing firm in one’s principles without compromise or retreat even in the face of persecution, victimisation or ridicule and being prepared to stand the consequences of speaking and living one’s convictions.
Fellow citizens, this Easter, it is my hope that each of us finds something that speaks to us in the account of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ Our Lord. May this lead us to live lives full of compassion, perseverance, courage, love and humility.
I wish you all a safe and peaceful Eastertide.