As a child, this time of year meant colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, and ham. Even though my family celebrated Easter, we didn’t attend church, so the religious origins of the holiday remained obscured. It was only as I got older that I learned about other spring holidays along with their ancient stories and rituals.
This month many of us are participating in celebrations such as Passover and Easter. These holidays remind us of the importance of eternal themes such as freedom and renewal. Even in dark times, after oppression and violence, we can catch a glimpse of the holy. A force larger than any single one of us still brings about goodness in this world. Joy and hope are still possible, even when we thought that they had died.
These stories help us find hope and meaning in our modern world. This year has already seen over 130 mass shootings and over 400 legislative bills introduced across the country to restrict LGBTQ+ rights. One in three women no longer have access to abortion care. Each year more and more carbon dioxide enters our atmosphere bringing us further and further past 350 parts per billion, which scientists name as a safe level, bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe. With all of this and more it is hard to find promise in a future for our children.
Yet, the stories of this holiday season promise them a future. They were originally told by people who were in conditions seemingly beyond hope — people facing generations of slavery and oppression, people witnessing the brutal execution of their spiritual leader. These stories grew out of their experiences as they wrestled with the existence of both goodness and evil. Within these ancient stories from the Abrahamic traditions, we find people struggling to define their relationship with other human beings as well as their relationship with a power much greater than themselves. They offer ancient wisdom which points toward a source of goodness and loving kindness that we all need. Such a force favors the oppressed and brings hope even in the face of death. Such wisdom offers hope in a way forward.
This season, may we all take time to revisit these ancient stories. We are offering multiple ways to explore them this year including worship services, our Passover Seder, and an Iftar Dinner with Peace Island Institute. Read the stories of this season yourself. Share them with your loved ones and the young ones in your life. Consider the seeds of wisdom they have to offer us still in a time when we are facing so much.
This season, may we all find more meaning and more hope as we dream about a more just future for all. Happy Spring. Happy Passover. Happy Easter. Blessed Ramadan.
Rev. Andrée Cornelia Mol
Minister, Central Unitarian Church