In the wake of the health-protective prohibition of all events and associations that involve the congregation of large crowds, in consonance with what prevails in most countries hard hit by the massive outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, by Ghana’s President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, some religious leaders who feel severely constrained by both the prohibition and the Coronavirus pandemic but, nevertheless, seem to be more pathologically fixated on the fate of their profession, especially the economic consequences of the ban on their wallets and bank accounts, are already calling for the rescheduling of some significant and long-established festivities, including Easter, perhaps the most globally celebrated event on the Christian liturgical calendar (See “Coronavirus: Ghana Needs a New Date for Easter Festivities – Opuni-Frimpong” Ghanaweb.com 3/17/20).
This may be due, in part, to the fact that Ghanaians, especially the country’s Akan ethnic majority, tend to have an inordinately fetishistic disposition towards funerary celebrations. This desperate reaction towards an equally desperate situation is therefore perfectly understandable. But, of course, it also lacks common sense, because any serious Christian religious thinker, in particular, but religious thinkers, in general, ought to be well aware of the fact that while it may be of mnemonic significance, nonetheless, the annual observation or celebration of such long-established and long-standing festivities as Easter is not the most significant aspect of our respective religious faiths. Besides, in the grim face of the Coronavirus pandemic, Ghanaian religious leaders must be clearly and properly envisaged to be absolutely no exception to complying with the new civic and behavioral edicts laid down by the democratically mandated leaders of our country. We must also incessantly emphasize the fact that this health-knowledge informed ban has been imposed on the citizens of virtually every single country in the world.
In sum, what our church and other religious leaders ought to be pragmatically focused on is how to help our civically minded secular leaders, politicians and statesmen and women to effectively stem the apocalyptic tide of this deadly plague with which we are presently globally confronted. It is also time for these church and religious leaders to privately and collectively reach into themselves, do some cranial, psychological and psychical soul-searching and creatively reconfigure more innovative and meaningful ways of doing things. This is not the time for intellectual deadwoods and patent pedestrians to be thinking about the rescheduling of religious festivities like Easter, the season globally marked on the calendar during which Christians commemorate the eternal sacred significance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and what the latter seismic event that occurred at the height of political power of the Roman Empire has meant for the adherents of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic philosophy of human existence.
In the main, the former General-Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) ought to be focused on measures deliberately put together by health experts and leaders around the globe that are apt to ensure the security and survival of humanity. You see, you need to first be able to guarantee the integrity of your own life before you may be able to properly map out how to ritualistically and, therapeutically as well, and meaningfully acknowledge and celebrate the sanctified lives of globally acclaimed and immortalized ancestral figures who have played significant roles in the collective survival and existence of global humanity by teaching us life-enhancing skills, principles and practices that have served humanity meaningfully to this day.
Indeed, just as the immortalized and globally celebrated Apostle Paul, in Christendom or the Christian world, spoke subliminally and poignantly about the imperative necessity for a “circumcision of the heart,” Ghanaian Christian religious leaders ought to be championing the temporally and contextually relevant Christocentric “celebration of the mind, the spirit and the soul,” and not just the ritualistically superficial celebration of the same. It is quite certain that this is not the first time in human civilization and existence that a globally seismic catastrophe has severely punctured or totally disrupted the intimately familiar rhythms of human existence, in particular religious and mundane rituals. Ghanaians and, for that matter, Christians across the world are not apt to die out or totally perish merely because the Easter season of the year 2020 was not publicly and peacefully celebrated with pomp and pageantry or pomp and circumstance because of the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
March 17, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]