We are in the midst of an exciting time of the year for many people of faith. My Christian colleagues are celebrating the Holy Week leading up to Easter. My Jewish friends are completing their Passover observances. And my Pagan neighbors recently observed Ostara, the vernal equinox. It is a time rich with symbolism and metaphor. From the resurrection to the exodus to the hare and egg, this spring season ushers in thoughts of new beginnings and rebirth, of light and warmth, of the cycle of our lives.
Whatever your faith tradition, this season is one of reflection — of self-examination and reaffirmation of core values and beliefs. In particular, core values of these religious observations emerge as critical in our lives. Easter gives us the unconditional love Jesus felt for everyone — a love unfettered by judgment or prejudice. Easter gives us the love for humanity and the goal of creating the beloved community among all men and women. Passover gives us the courage of people enduring hardships and suffering to persevere. Passover reminds us that faith and conviction are always rewarded with self-determination and freedom. And Ostara gives us confidence that our love and conviction will live on if we care for our children and for our earth. Ostara reminds us that life is about change and growth and that we are meant to never stop evolving toward more enlightened selves.
Acceptance of each other regardless of our differences, mutual courage and perseverance despite any obstacle, and love for all and commitment to their well being — these are core values to which we can all agree. Whatever you call your god, your higher power, or the eternal mysteries of our universe, we can come together in acceptance, courage and love. Whatever your appearance, your identity or your heritage, we can come together if we try.
But in order to do this, we must also embody other meanings of these holidays. Easter teaches us the need to sacrifice. Passover teaches us the need to have faith. And Ostara teaches us the need to live in balance with our world. Can we do this? Can we join — as people of all beliefs, all walks of life, all attributes — in sacrifice, faith, and balance? I believe that we can.
Start today. Put aside your differences and seek out common ground. Look for solutions that benefit all parties and do not simply gratify your own needs. Try to understand those unlike yourself — walk in their shoes before making assumptions. With acceptance and sacrifice, courage and faith, love and balance, there is nothing we cannot do.