The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The advent of Easter is a time for a deep remembrance of faith, of God. Indeed, it is that particular moment in the mosaic of human experience when people all over the world -- and not just Christians -- recall the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ in his efforts to instil the love of God in the souls of men. Easter is, therefore, that precious moment in the landscape of faith where the suffering of one man, in this case, Jesus, as we have known him for centuries, opens the path to salvation for all other men. On the Cross, as his crucifixion got under way at the hands of the Romans, Jesus had a plaintive question for the Lord of the World: ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’
But God did not forsake Jesus. That suffering in defence of the faith was and is symbolic of nobility in the propagation and practice of religion was the test Jesus was put through by God, a test which only enhanced the beauty of his religiosity and convinced his followers that he did not perish on the Cross but indeed had his life renewed in sheer love of the Almighty. This morning, therefore, when Christians worldwide remember the sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus -- in Nazareth, in Bethlehem, in Jerusalem -- indeed everywhere, they recall in precise terms the message that the Prophet left behind for them.
Religion is fundamental to the soul. That is the truth we harbour today across the various frontiers of religious beliefs as we remember Jesus. His invocation of turning the other cheek, of accepting pain as a passage to the fulfilment of love for God, is a lesson which has come to people down the centuries as a mantra for peaceful living in the warm company of their neighbours.
On Easter, it is not merely the spectacle of a painfully dying Jesus on the Cross, which we recall. We remember, too, his rising from the dead to convey the message that God has not forsaken him, that life begins anew at a point where it seemingly comes to an end. It is a process underpinned by love, which love is extended to the Almighty and for his Creation.
On Easter, Jesus lights up lives across the vast expanses of our world. This morning, we wish the Christian community in Bangladesh and all people everywhere, irrespective of the divergence of belief but accommodative of the diversity of faith, a happy Easter. Let interfaith communion in our country become part of our national conversation, all in the larger interest of the people of Bangladesh. That, in essence, is the meaning of faith, of the ethos of this land.