Friday, April 22, 2011

The Glory of Spring and Renewal

The Glory of Spring and Renewal

I don’t know about you, but for me this time of year is especially meaningful. Spring is definitely in the air and the blossoms on the trees attest to nature feeling pretty sure that the seasons have changed. And the holidays that are celebrated at this same time each year should make us all reflect on what’s meaningful and right. And now the child in all of us sits facing the sun and enjoys the real first days of brightness and warmth and renewal.
  • Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the enslaved Jews being released from Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the lunar month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.
  • Easter is also celebrated at this time of year - the date is set by Passover, the Jewish holiday when the Bible says Jesus was crucified. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday. The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians are new creations as result of the Resurrection and that Christians are thus raised to new life. The glory of spring does provide many of the symbols that Christians use, such as lilies and eggs, to represent the Easter experience.
  • For pagans, on the other hand, their spring holiday is very much tied to what's happening in nature. The spring equinox is one of four high holy days of the year for them. They believe spring is definitely a time for second chances and renewal.
  • For Buddhists, spring is significant mainly for its connection with events in the life of the Buddha. The Buddha was born, became enlightened, died and achieved Nirvana, a supreme state free from suffering and individual existence, all in May.
  • Hindus celebrated Holi, a holiday representing the victory of good over evil, March 14.
  • Muslims don't have a major spring holiday. Their most important season is Ramadan. Its date changes from year to year according to the lunar calendar. This year it will be in October. In this faith, the door to repentance is open all the time.
I’m not suggesting that these holidays are the same. But it’s interesting how most of these major holidays have so much in common. Just like it’s interesting how most of the things that each of the religions teach us are similar. And while it’s true that the events of all of the major religions are based on stories that have been handed down from one generation to the next for centuries, they were often not reduced to writing until hundreds of years afterwards and were thus subject to local interpretations.

So what might this teach us? Maybe that in spite of our differences, there’s enough that’s the same that we should look to build on that similarity. Maybe we should look to find the common ground between us rather than focus on historical reasons that separate us. Maybe we should look to resolve our differences so that we can live and work together in harmony and peace.

There are so many examples throughout the world where nations and communities and peoples are split because of religious preferences. As the world becomes smaller and more connected because of mass communications and the global economy, doesn’t it make sense that we should look to find the ties that bind rather than those that separate. If spring really is a time of renewal, then maybe we should renew a common goal to make sure that there’s a world to renew a year from now. Tolerance, patience, understanding, openness and a willingness to live and let live are goals we all should think about adopting during this spring of renewal.

Arte NathanMy quote and message this week is about passion and how it can be used to bring us and what we do, together and make us all stronger.

“All glory comes from daring to begin.” 
-Eugene F. Ware

Eugene F. Ware (1841 – 1911) was a soldier of Iowa, a lawyer and public man of Kansas, and an author both of that state and Missouri. His political career consisted of two terms in the Kansas Legislature and three years as United States pension commissioner. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Society of the Mayflower Descendants.

Glory is a good thing: full of beauty, wonder and magnificence. All around there is beauty – in the things we see and do, the sounds we hear and the work we accomplish each day.  Wonder can be found in the ideas we have, the way people work together and the boundless expanse of energy and time. And magnificence can be seen in our relationships at work, home, play and in our communities, the way people come together to get things done and the trust and respect that exists between and among colleagues. All of these can be found in normal circumstances (or not) – but think how much better they would each be if you approached them with passion. Passion can turn each into so much more. Passion helps make regular things great. Passion can help make the impossible seem possible. So dare to begin approaching those things that bring glory into your life with passion today. And see how much better they all can be.

Happy Holidays and Stay Well!

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