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Obama’s visit brings renewed hope at Easter

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This weekend is the most important in the Christian calendar. It is the Easter weekend, beginning with Good Friday when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and followed by Easter, celebrating the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ the Saviour.{{more}}

These events are fundamental to the Christian faith and although in western societies, emphasis on observing them may have fallen off somewhat, yet so important are they that these two occasions, like Christmas, are the pre-eminent public holidays in such societies.

The Resurrection, the belief that Christ rose from the dead, is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. Its message is one of redemption and hope for the future, the eventual triumph of good over evil. Significantly, it follows the story of the persecution of Jesus Christ for his espousal of ideas which were considered as radical and revolutionary, threatening the rule of the powerful of his time.

Another aspect of Christ’s ordeal was his magnanimous gesture in asking, while on the cross, that his Father forgive those who had persecuted and crucified him. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” is among the most well known words of Christ.

We can apply some of these principles to everyday life and use them in our reflections on an important global event which occurred this Holy Week. We refer here to the historic visit of US President Barack Obama to Cuba. Historic, not only because it was the first by a US President in almost a century, but more so for the context, the visit crowning the rapprochement between Washington and Havana and setting the seal on a new era in their hitherto hostile relations over more than five and a half decades.

So one can speak of a virtual “resurrection” of friendship between the neighbouring states, both of which staged major Revolutions to change the course of their respective histories. Both have known and suffered from colonial persecution, and in the case of relations between them, just as Jesus was persecuted for his preaching against the status quo and in favour of the poor, the Cuban revolutionaries can justly feel that they too were persecuted for their revolutionary actions and ideas.

That persecution also involved having to undergo isolation, being forsaken by many nations in the world for fear of offending the modern-day Caesars, the Scribes and Pharisees, to make biblical comparisons. In spite of all that has happened in US/Cuba relations, again another significant Christian principle has emerged in the new state of affairs, that of the willingness on both sides to forgive past wrongs and to place their relationship on a new level.

Finally, to conclude, one can say that the Obama visit has, like the resurrection brought renewed hope for the future, not only for the people of both countries, but for all of us in this hemisphere, and the world. Like Easter, faith in the future of mankind, is the underlying message. A blessed Easter to everyone from SEARCHLIGHT.

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