Editorial: Holidays are reminder of hope

Published 10:10 am Monday, April 6, 2015

Christians throughout the world celebrated Sunday as the highest, most holy day of the year — Easter, the day in which the faithful mark the resurrection of Christ. For Christians, it also represents the triumph over death and the hope of life everlasting. Christians also marked the past several days as Holy Week, a time to remember the suffering and death of Jesus.

They are not the only faith celebrating a high religious holiday this weekend. The Jewish Passover, the highest holiday for that faith, falls on Saturday. And there are interesting parallels between the holidays.

Despite their vast differences, the great religions of the world do share some basic similarities. Each try to answer in their own ways three questions: Why is there pain and suffering in the world? What is the meaning of life in the face of our own mortality? And how do we live our everyday lives in light of suffering and death?

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For us as individuals, those questions and whatever answers we give to them coalesce whenever we experience loss in our personal lives, like the death of a loved one. But as a world, we see such questions played out whenever natural disasters strike, when political turmoil leads to violence, or when nations become embroiled in conflicts leading to war and rumors of war.

Consider the amount of violence that our world experienced just this past week — Holy Week:

• At least 148 people, many of them students, were slaughtered this week at Garissa University College in Kenya, killed by Al-Shabaab militants, most of them killed because of religious differences.

• Hundreds of migrant workers were rescued from Indonesia where they had been lured or tricked into leaving their countries and forced into slavery where they lived in brutal, violent conditions, some for years.

• For two straight days North Korea fired short-range projectiles into the sea in an apparent protest against ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills, keeping the tensions high on the peninsula.

And the list could go on and on with talk about the violence in the Middle East, in Ukraine and even on the city streets of the United States. And that’s just this past week.

But even the events described in those stories do not mean that we must live in a world without hope.

Questions about suffering and death stretch across cultures and faiths. But with those questions come answers filled with hope.

The Jewish Passover, which is also celebrated this weekend, recalls a time in the lives of the Hebrew people when, just as life seemed at its most difficult, there came to the people an exodus from the turmoil that enslaved them.

As these great holidays from these great religions remind us, there is always room for hope.


— Owatonna People’s Press, April 4

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