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Spring honors hope

Welcome to Holy Week, that is, if you are a practicing Catholic or Protestant. As a child raised Roman Catholic, my parents always reminded me that Easter, the culmination of Holy Week, which is the culmination of Lent, is the most important holiday in all Christian religions. Honestly, a seven-year-old kid is far more interested in the toys under the Christmas tree than the jelly beans in an Easter basket. But, as I aged, I understood what my parents meant.

Over three-quarters of the world’s population follow or identify with one of four religious philosophies – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism – all of which have significant spring festivals. Muslims have Ramadan; Hindus, Holi; and Buddhists, Wesak. All of these festivals touch on themes of birth, death, sacrifice and salvation. Passover, the Jewish spring holiday, honors memory, family, optimism and responsibility.

What do all these significant practices have in common? Spring. Why? Because, whether you follow a religious practice or you do not, spring is the season that reminds us of one of the most human expressions of all – hope. Hope of redemption. Hope for change. Hope for salvation.

In spring, flowers bloom, birds and other animals migrate and return, the sun shines more hours every day and life pulses with awareness of itself and an intrinsic urge to be.

We humans have found countless ways to judge each other, harm each other and separate ourselves from each other. So much of that is artificial. We have so much more in common than we admit. Maybe that’s part of being human – we can all recognize our own feelings of distress, sorrow, envy, pride, covetousness, and more that were released upon us when Pandora’s curiosity got the better of her. They can defeat us and certainly can divide us.

But we also know hope. That’s why we honor spring. It represents the promise of our own humanity – our common, shared humanity. All of us.

Always hold on to hope.



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