This 60th year of our Independence will be remembered as a year we passed through a lot. We remain comforted that even though this is an unprecedented year, the core message of this 60th year of Independence remains the same year after year, that is of ‘Hope’.
These past few months have been a time of uncertainty and, for many people, “hope” is something that seems to be in short supply. In many ways the elderly and the young are passing through dark times at this moment, and the question is how to make sense of the darkness. Nothing brings hope back to life like unity and togetherness so at this time, we choose to be hopeful and joyful, above everything else. For this 60th year of Independence of our dear country Nigeria gives us hope in a bewildering nation and hope to face the uncertainties of the future.
As a Great Nation, hope is one of the most important gifts that we can give to each and every one of us today. In a Country where there is often the reality of suffering, violence and injustice, we are called to be people of hope. This is not ordinary human hope. This is the hope that comes to us through the goodness and greatness of our Creator. In the face of sadness, difficulty and pain, we are called to look to, and rely on, our maker , and not just on our own strength and resources. We are the ones that tell the story of divine tragedy and hope to ourselves, to each other and to the communities around us. To those who are suffering, we are the storytellers of Hope. To those who are overcome by systems of power, we are storytellers of Liberation. To the systems of oppression, we participate in, we are storytellers of Justice. Let’s tell the story of Freedom.
On This 60th Independence, as we are confined to our homes, let us reorient ourselves; refocus our hearts and minds on Christ/ Allah; to be nourished and fed; and then to be sent out once more to the people and places of our lives, to be the Good News amidst all that people are facing in their lives so that people might discover life in all its fullness.
Know this today that crises also present opportunities – to reconsider who we are, to become more self-aware, to be more loving, more compassionate. The challenges we’re facing is a test – not of GOD/ALLAH but of us. It challenges us to come out of our comfort zones. The first year found the most faithful huddled away from their congregations, in a room, hiding out with a different fear.
During these turbulent times, we can all do something, for someone, in this time. Many things have been cancelled because of COVID-19 but love and compassion are not among them. Do what you can to help others, especially the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the isolated, and do not close your hearts to the homeless and the migrants who are suffering more than others. Keep your heart open to all those in need. Intercede for them, connect with them through prayers or a phone call.
My hope and prayer for all of us this Independence day is that, even if we feel trapped in what feels like a bad and unhappy situation, we shall have faith that love will triumph; that a life with deeper meaning is waiting for all of us. May the undying hope of freedom reach deep into the life of everyone, especially those struggling most to find hope in what seems a hopeless situation.
May we all be renewed and transformed this Independence day and, in turn, renew and transform others. We must be that beacon of Hope in our communities and in our Country at large.
I wish you all a blessed independence day Celebration.
Chukwuebuka Kingsley Simayann,
Enugu State Coordinator.