BARU BIAN’S EASTER MESSAGE 2017
EASTER: GUARDING OUR FREEDOM TO WORSHIP
For the people of the Christian faith worldwide, Easter is the most significant celebration in the calendar, even more so than Christmas. In the BEM church, Easter celebrations were traditionally held in one church in the Lawas district, and the Lun Bawangs would travel for days to attend the Irau Easter, which is celebrated over several days.
Easter marks the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, events on which the Christian faith is rooted. These events give Christians the gift of hope and victory over death, as prophesied in 1 Corinthians 15: 55 ~
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
This verse in the old testament foreshadows the resurrection and victory over sin and death. In the modern day context, Christians are encouraged and reminded to hold on to faith and hope, in facing the challenges in our day-to-day living, and in dealing with our worries and fears over our freedom of religion. Many people today are concerned with the spiritual aspect of life, especially the freedom to practise the religion of their choosing.
The kidnapping of Pastor Raymond Koh and the disappearance of Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife without any satisfactory response by the authorities is seen to be a threat to our freedom of religion. At this time, we must hold on to the assurance that out of darkness, there will come light, and that righteousness will triumph over evil, no matter how long and arduous the night might be.
It is a sign of the desperate times in our country is that religion is being politicised by certain parties to jostle for power, and many people are unwittingly being drawn into the fray. The latest example is the RUU355, which besides being unconstitutional, was used ruthlessly and unashamedly by the government to manipulate PAS for political support.
Religion is a personal matter between a person and his God, and the government must stay out of religion. In this context, it would be prudent for the Sarawak leaders, who have had good understanding and appreciation of the importance of freedom of religion since the beginning of Malaysia and even before then, to continue to lead by example and to stand firm on religious freedom as advocated for us by our forefathers.
Notwithstanding the grim and bleak state of our nation, Good Friday and Easter Sunday celebrations remind me to find solace in the spiritual and in our faith. Perhaps we should all take time this Easter to pray for our country and her leaders that we may continue to live in peace and harmony.
I wish all Christians a blessed Easter.
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan