FEATURE ARTICLE

Monday, April 1, 2024
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EASTER: VICTORY OF LIGHT OVER DARKNESS

n those uncivilized days in my area, there was a ferocious masquerade called darkness. It appeared from the land of the dead twice a year. It had seven horns and seven awful eyes, each at the tip of the horns. It was as black as charcoal. If a pregnant woman sees it, then the child in her womb would be as ugly as the masquerade. All those who saw it also experienced fearful dreams for seven awful nights. Wherever it went, darkness enveloped the entire environment. The spirit of a departed wicked man must have been incarnated in the evil masquerade. It was when Christianity overshadowed paganism that some Prayer Warriors bound and cast the evil masquerade into the gully of darkness known as Sheol, which is located in the underworld. Hence the people heaved a sigh of relief.

From the biblical account of creation as recorded in the Book of Genesis we read, "In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light. God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day' and the darkness he called 'night.' Thus evening came, and morning followed" (Gen. 1:1-5). This happened on the first day.

From the above analogy we can easily deduce that darkness is the absence of light. Light dispels darkness. When the sun rises in the morning, darkness disappears to oblivion. On the other hand, when the sun sets in the evening, darkness reappears. Darkness is visible but it cannot be touched. When a room is dark and you put on light, the darkness vanishes immediately. When you put off the light, darkness descends from nowhere. Scientists discovered that a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the earth and the sun, thereby obscuring the view of the sun from the earth. This can be total or partial. When there is total eclipse, everywhere becomes night. There is a little visibility when partial eclipse occurs. I have witnessed partial eclipse of the sun about three times in my life. I am yet to witness total eclipse of the sun. The last was said to have occurred in Nigeria in 1947. By then I was still in the World of Ideas.

It was around 1998 that there was a rumour of three days total darkness. It was believed that only candles blessed by priests that can give light within the three dark days. Even though I was not convinced of the impending three days darkness, I blessed some packets of candles and kept aside in case it happens. Gradually the expected days of the darkness came and passed. Nothing happened. Later I used the reserved holy candles to celebrate Mass. It is on the air again that there will be three consecutive days darkness starting from April 8, 2024. It will be a total darkness. From what I read in the internet Vanguard News of 20 March 2024, "Some parts of the world will witness a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, which has been referred to as Great American Eclipse. The rare astronomical wonder will be visible in April in parts of Mexico, Canada, and the United States, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)." We can discern from the above information that there should be no cause for alarm for us here in Africa. Some Nigerians are already panicking. Some are already insinuating that the impending total darkness signals the end of the world. Nonetheless we must be prepared at all times because the world will eventually come to an end when no one knows.

From all indications, hell fire is enveloped in eternal total darkness. There is no atom of light there as I envisage. Therefore, if you are not sure of going to heaven when death shall knock at your door, kindly provide yourself with torchlight and batteries that can last you for some days in hell. However there are no everlasting batteries. Hell is better avoided than experienced. Heaven on the other hand is illumined forever. Whatever we sow here on earth shall be reaped either in heaven or in hell. If we choose darkness over light while on earth, then everlasting darkness (hell) shall be our lot. The hymn: "Light of Christ, light our way. Light our way as we go" ought to be in our lips and hearts as we sojourn here on earth.

Easter is once again here. Christ suffered and died for us all. After God illumined the darkness that overshadowed the whole world he said, "Let us make man in our own image and likeness" (Gen. 1:26). God's image is the Light. On the contrary, darkness is the image of the devil. In the Book of Genesis Chapter three, the devil led mankind into darkness once more through the consumption of the fruit of disobedience. Consequently, mankind represented by Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise, which is the seat of Light and happiness. They were thrown once more into the abyss of darkness. Sin is the forbidden fruit. Anyone who commits sin lives in the world of darkness.

God being the merciful Father sent his only Son into the world of darkness to redeem sinful mankind engulfed in total darkness. As loving God he does not want a sinner to be lost; rather he wants him or her to repent (Ezekiel 18:23). Thus the Word took flesh and became Man in order to save fallen men and women. Jesus Christ is the Word-made-flesh and who dwelt among us. At the fullness of time he was arrested, tortured and crucified on the infamous Gibbet in order to save us from everlasting darkness. When he died on the Cross on Good Friday, darkness covered the earth. He was later buried. Surprisingly on the third day, he rose from the dead. Immediately the total darkness disappeared and there was light again. The glory of God shone. The security men stationed to guard his grave were taken unawares. Light overcame darkness when he rose from the dead. He appeared to his disciples and assured them that he is alive. He imparted his divine light on them as he ascended into heaven to take his glorious seat at the right hand of God the Father.

Since Jesus Christ has occupied the right hand of God the Father, we should strive for the left hand. By his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ gained for us what is called Universal Salvation. By this he reopened the gate of Paradise which was shut for ages. We can only gain access to everlasting Light in heaven by struggling for our own personal salvation. Thus Universal Salvation plus Personal Salvation give rise to Beatific Vision in heaven. But if we prefer darkness to light again, we shall be thrown into everlasting darkness in hell. God forbid!

Some persons are of the opinion that Jesus Christ will not resurrect this year in Nigeria due to the tensed insecurity in the country. Do not panic. There is always victory of light over darkness. The bad leadership, corruption, acute hunger, anger, high cost of living, kidnappings, wanton killings all over the country shall be overcome soon, if all Nigerians (leaders and the led) choose light over darkness. When Christ died on the Cross he descended into the land of the dead to free innocent captives of darkness. May the Risen Lord free us from the darkness of sin and lead us through repentance into the light of good living! May he illumine all the forests in Nigeria with his divine light and free all those in captivity! May the Risen Lord lead all those in internally displaced camps back to their ancestral homes! May the Light of the Risen Lord shine on the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Arms of Government so that justice and good leadership will resurrect! May the Judiciary stand on justice and fair play to be truly the last hope of the common man! May the light of the Risen Christ illumine the darkened offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission so that free, fair and credible elections (and not selections) would always be upheld! We plead with the Federal Government to put in place Food Subsidy since she has removed Fuel Subsidy. A stitch in time saves nine. The "Renewed Hope" mantra of the Federal Government Administration of President Bola Tinubu cannot be achieved in the state of insecurity and acute hunger.

Before I put the final full-stop today, let me remind you that Easter Monday 1st April is my birthday. Pray for me so that light will overcome darkness on that my special nativity day. All fools are cordially invited. Due to the economic hardship in the country, the celebration will be low-keyed. Rice and Stew Very Little (RSVL). Happy Easter and God bless!!!

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