A holy week for many
“I life up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help?”
It’s hard to stand atop Castle Peak and do a 360 degree turnaround, and not get a sense of creation and, by extension, wonder about our creator. The Sierra Nevada mountain range is a wonder of creation. So are the Fiji Islands, and the South Pole, and France, for that matter.
This region’s early man felt the same way about this area. Their oral traditions tell of reverence for the creator of this land of snow-covered mountains, who set their lifetime clock with winter snows and summer sun and the flowers and rain in-between.
This week contains many significant religious observances: last Tuesday’s fasting day of the month of Muharram, the first holy month in the Islamic new year; Thursday’s Holika Dahan, the Hindu festival symbolizing the triumph of good conquering evil; Friday’s Passover, the beginning of an eight-day festival when Jews commemorate their deliverance from slavery in Egypt over 3000 years ago; and Sunday is Easter, the last day in the most holy week in the Christian calendar, the time when Christians gather to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In all of these religious observances, and hundreds more around the world, we see modern man’s yearning to understand the creator through the practical application of ancient beliefs and symbols. Believers of all faiths relate to God through the interactivity of a spiritual practice, including prayer, fasting, mediation, and the study of holy texts. The quest for such deep intimacy in human existence – the intimacy with God, our creator – is often the most powerful experience of our entire lives, and the most vulnerable.
To wit, the thousands of years of conflict between religious powers. Spiritual beliefs and religious practices can be misused by the politically powerful, and the goodness of this deeply-personal connection can be twisted into a justification for cruelty or death to those who believe differently than we do, but who have less power.
During this holy week for many, may you have a meaningful meditative feast of Muharram as you consider your own sacrifices; may good conquer evil in your life this day of Holika Dahan; may you find comfort in your own traditions as do Passover celebrants, and may you be freed from whatever enslaves you; and may your life enjoy the truth of forgiveness and renewal as taught by Jesus Christ.
And, if your view of creation revolves around Mother Earth, may you enjoy these things anyway as you hike these glorious hills and mountains.
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