THIS WEEKEND’S confluence of religious holidays — Good Friday, Shouter Baptist Liberation Day and Easter — has not only given us a long weekend, it has also gifted us with a chance to be reflective.
Friday’s Shouter Baptist Liberation Day commemorated the long struggle of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist community. Theirs is a history of oppression. But it is also a remarkable story of endurance and hope: an inspiration to all of the marginal classes who see social change and uplift.
While the Baptist community has been divided in recent years, all of its factions – including the National Congress of Incorporated Spiritual Baptists Organisations and the Spiritual Baptists Council of Elders – have this shared history in common. It is now up to these factions to ensure that the legacy of this history is not lost upon future generations. They must heal their rift.
With the commemoration of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Christians all over the world commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The faithful draw upon this miracle as a sign of the possibility of redemption. While there is agreement that Jesus was, in fact, a historical figure, the methods of historical analysis and inquiry will never be able to prove or disprove the events that unfolded that first Easter at Jerusalem. Certainly, no one has been able to demonstrate that Jesus did something that is plainly impossible to do: rise from the dead.
What can be proven, however, is the impact of elements of the Easter narrative on history. For some, the authors of the Gospels are responsible for the development of anti-Semitism. On the other hand, like the Shouter Baptists, Christians have throughout the centuries paid a terrible price for their faith, enduring a campaign of persecution. But as influential as it has been on the trajectory of human history, some elements of the Passion of the Christ have taught us seemingly little about the need for secular state administration, the problematic nature of capital punishment and the wrongness of torture. Still, we can take away much that is positive from the beliefs of both faiths. Both teach us to hold steadfast to hope, to believe in a future than is better, even in the face of adversity. Both teach us to consider things greater than ourselves and, therefore, the greater good.
These are values which we need to hold fast to as a society if we are to address the many ills that plague us ranging from crime, domestic violence, misogyny, discrimination, corruption, economic imbalance and the violation of fundamental human rights. In one way or another we all need to keep faith and believe in a brighter tomorrow.