Spring has arrived, the light has returned, and the trees and flowers bless us with their sweet aromas. But even in this season of hope, many people seem to be caught between joy and suffering. They describe feeling both hopeful and hopeless, or they describe an emotional numbness. Perhaps you’ve been feeling something similar.
I am sure you can think of a dozen circumstances in your life right now where it feels justifiable and natural to complain. But I challenge you to not go there. Instead, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4) and turn your attention to cultivating peace, joy and doing or giving to others.
A Zen master was teaching his students one day and
one student asked, “Is there anything that I can do to make myself
enlightened?” The Zen master replied and said; “As little as you can do to make
the sun rise in the morning.” The students then asked, “Then what use are the
spiritual exercises you prescribe?” And the Zen master said this; “To make sure
you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”
I recently watched a delightful movie
called “The Green Book” that one writer described as “a love letter to the
endurance of the embattled human spirit.” I found the movie to be down to earth
and heavenly at the same time. More than
anything, it gave me renewed faith and hope in us.
We all experience suffering and injustice,
but we also experience how the Divine provides help and hope every day,
sometimes in the most unexpected ways. At Easter, Passover, and spring, we
celebrate the season of renewal and hope. My prayer is that we grow, together,
in faith, hope, love, and understanding.
“Hope is always loving and faith is always loving and hopeful. Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” ~Richard Rohr
In every spiritual tradition exists the foundational precept of loving-kindness. In my life, I find no greater joy than to be working in loving- kindness, serving God above all else. But how do we discover what God’s will is for us?
Spring brings the awakening of the earth from the long rest of winter, evidenced by the blossoming of trees and flowers and the tender green of emerging plants. A natural time of renewal and hope, spring is also the season of Easter, which is my favorite holiday. Often referred to as ‘Pascha’ in the Eastern Christian tradition, Easter is the most significant and sacred Christian feast day and the high point of the liturgical year. Pascal, which means “to be born on, or to be associated with Passover day” also means something of great significance. Passover is the traditional eight-day Jewish celebration of the freedom of Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Because the Hebrew holiday Passover coincides closely with the later Christian holiday of Easter, the Latin word came to be used for both occasions.