My fellow citizens,

Ni sa Bula Vinaka.

Before we delve into the significance of Easter, I want to take a moment to reflect on a special Sunday we recently observed in the Methodist Church calendar.

A few weeks ago, fathers across our islands marked this day by presenting our first harvest, known as “sevu”,in church. This tradition holds deep importance not only within iTaukei culture but also resonates with biblical principles.

In Leviticus Chapter 23:Verses 10 to 11, it says, “When you get to the land I’m giving you and gather your first harvest, take some of the grain to the priest. He’ll lift it up to God as a sign of thanksgiving”.

Giving the first harvest shows that we’re grateful for what God has given us and that we trust Him.

As we get ready to celebrate Easter with our families, let’s remember to be thankful like we are when we give our first harvest.

Easter is about hope, starting afresh, and new beginnings.

This year, we are reminded not only of the resurrection of Jesus Christ but also of the triumph of good over evil symbolised by the Hindu festival of Holi, which also

coincidentally marked the beginning of the Christian Holy Week.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. In the face of recent challenges, including the devastating floods that have affected many of our communities, the message of Easter takes on a renewed significance.

It calls upon us to extend a helping hand to those in need, to stand together as neighbors and friends, and to embody the values of peace, respect, and unity.

At its core, Easter is a celebration of love and forgiveness, symbolised by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Just last week, we celebrated Children’s Sunday, where our children recited Bible verses.

With their pure hearts and unwavering belief, our children re-enacted the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Children’s Sunday serves as a poignant reminder of innocence, faith, and hope.

But we also know that the events of Palm Sunday were followed by a week of tremendous challenges and ultimate sacrifice.

Just as the jubilant crowds welcomed Jesus with palm branches, only to witness His crucifixion a week later, we are reminded of the fragility of hope in the face of adversity.

Yet, even in the midst of trials, our children remind us that hope is not merely a fleeting sentiment, but sustains us through life’s storms.

In a world where there is often conflict and trouble, Easter teaches us to go beyond our disagreements and accept that we are all human beings together.

It urges us to foster understanding and empathy, to bridge divides, and to build a future defined by harmony and cooperation.

If we believe in being patient, forgiving, and respectful, we can make a world where peace is most important and everyone lives with honor and kindness toward each other.

Let’s join together to celebrate Easter. Let’s be thankful and open-minded to the important message it brings.

May the spirit of Easter inspire us to strive for a brighter future, where compassion and love prevail, and where justice and democracy flourish.

May God bless Fiji, and may the light of Easter guide us on our journey towards a more just and compassionate world.

Vinaka vakalevu, and happy Easter to you all.

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