President Paula-Mae Weekes said yesterday that one of the benefits of living in a multi-religious society such as T&T, is that “we can all extract the essence of the beliefs of others and discover its relevance to us.”
In her Easter message yesterday, she said the teaching of comparative religion in 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.
President Weekes said, “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.”
Given the state’s society, she said, Easter might have significance to non-Christians and therefore, “we need exemplars or superheroes who model for us how we might handle pain, disappointment and feelings 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.”
What is clear, she said, is that Easter teaches everyone to stand firm in one’s principles without compromise or retreat even in the fact of persecution, victimization or ridicule and being prepared to stand the consequences of speaking and living one’s convictions.
Her wish for citizens this Easter, is that each citizen finds something that speaks to them, “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.”