Easter is it? Some thoughts!
We are now into what is called ‘Holy Week’ in the Christian tradition. Then from tomorrow we move into the two most important days in Christian societies, Good Friday, the day when Jesus was said to have died on the cross, and Easter, the time of his resurrection. Christ’s death and resurrection are fundamental to Christian beliefs and are recognised with public holidays in most Christian societies. It will probably be more accurate to stress their importance to Christians rather than to Christian societies, because it appears to me that many who once classified themselves as Christians no longer do so. Even among those whom I call nominal Christians, the significance of these two holidays seems to have been lost. Many who were not regular practitioners did in the past, put aside time to attend divine worship. I am not sure that as many do so today. It is difficult even to assess this since there are so many churches around and membership and attendance are very diversified.
Lent, Good Friday and Easter are no longer observed as they used to be. The period of Lent is now, for most people, like any other time of year. There are still a few who adhere to some of the old customs and practices, like avoiding ‘liquor’ and even meat. For the majority, anything goes. The change of our Carnival from its pre-Lenten period has had some impact. Before the change-over there was an awareness on Carnival Tuesday evening that we were into our ‘last lap’, since the next day was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten period. Today Ash Wednesday for most of us means little. In fact, we do not even remember it. By the way, Ash Wednesday in Jamaica is still a holiday as it has been for some time.
Some of the Christian celebrations have even become secular and many see Holy Week as a waiting period for the Easter celebrations, which now appear to be starting even earlier. Is Christianity under serious threat from the growth of secularism? Is this an inevitable trend? Our society was built on and governed by Christian principles. Is the breakdown we are experiencing in law and order a result of the discarding of the Christian principles that have so long held our societies together? What struck me some weeks ago when a ‘Jump Up’ was allowed from ‘Peace Mo’ to the old Arnos Vale airport, was the fact that it was happening in Lent. I am not sure that there was any outcry from the churches. Have they accepted this as inevitable?
In SVG today entertainment dominates our lives and of course entertainment has many forms. But people seem to yearn all the time for a ‘good jump-up’ and since as we say man must live and some promoters make their living by providing ‘space’ for this, then have we accepted this as the path we must take to make the people happy and to provide a living for some? Of course, we do not exist in a vacuum and our society is open to external influences, especially with the growth of social media and the continued dominance of American television.
If it is true that more people are losing faith with Christianity, what then is replacing it? A belief in God and adherence to the principles of Christianity provided a societal bond. I say this while realising that you do not have to be a Christian to abide by laws and regulations and to be a good citizen, but I suggest that you will have to believe in something. What then will hold us together as a society, especially in a world where individualism predominates?