A Time of Holy Stories and Celebrations – In the Midst of a Pandemic
Today I received an email greeting from my friends at WithOurVoice/Children at the Well/Interfaith Story Circle in New York… I cannot say it any better than they, so I’m sharing here nearly word-for-word, to amplify their message today:
The Festival of Passover begins tonight, April 8. Family seders are conducted on the first two nights, the second of which falls this year on Maundy Thursday of the Easter Holy Week. Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday follow on April 10-12, and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins on April 23 and ends May 23. Jews, Christians and Muslims everywhere will variously fast, feast, sing, pray and do good works.
These holidays also customarily involve a multitude of gatherings with family, friends, and co-congregants. This year, of course, most of the gathering we do will take place on the screens of our electronic devices and in our hearts.
Despite this physical separation, in this time of pandemic we experience how connected we are as a human family. While the virus knows no borders, neither does compassion or empathy. Our hearts go out to those who are alone and afraid, to those who are suffering, and to those who risk their own health to take care of the stricken and keep us safe.
“The Passover story tells us that ‘a journey may begin in grief [but can] end in triumph.'” ~ Dr. Jill Biden (Forgive me, I know she’s not Jewish, but I read this today and is it not beautiful and true? I am moved to share it here.)
“Ramadan is the month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness and whose end is freedom from fire. ”
~ Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)
“Jesus is alive whenever we choose life, whenever we launch out in the deep, whenever we believe more rather than less…Resurrection gives life, healing, and courage when we need it most, and always when we least expect it. Resurrection gives us hope that abundant life is our legacy now and forever more.” ~ Dr. Bruce Epperly
May peace, comfort, safety, connection, and hope be yours in these challenging days.
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Repeating here a notice I sent out in a previous blog, just in case anyone is still looking last-minute for online resources for Holy Week worship planning:
I’m making available this half-hour video recording of my studio-telling of the Passion Story from Mark. Instead of my setting a firm fee, for this Holy Week during the coronavirus pandemic this recording will be available to you for a “rental” period until the end of April for a dollar amount of your choosing (as little as $1). I have been telling the Passion Story from Mark for 20+ years, and have regularly been booked by churches for live performances during Lent and Holy Week – but we all know what has happened this year!