This Spring, Let Us Commit Ourselves to Life

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Common Dreams

This Spring, Let Us Commit Ourselves to Life

Both Passover and Easter “celebrate” truly horrendous acts committed by men against men.

Passover commemorates how the Jews were spared by the grace of God from the Pharaoh’s evil plan to kill all first-born sons. Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Christ after he was brutally martyred on the cross—a not-uncommon practice at the time.

Of course, both the Christian and the Jewish holidays also build on the much earlier pagan rites of Spring, the welcoming of warmth and rebirth after a season of winter.

I have to wonder why dominant human civilization has moved away from the earlier, simpler pagan celebrations, keyed to the natural world rather than to human doings and misdeeds.

Both Passover and Easter celebrate life—the lives of Jewish children, the miraculous resurrection of Christ, who gave his life in sacrifice for humanity. Hence all the eggs, chicks and bunnies that populate the secular reinterpretations of these holidays, especially the American secular Easter.

Life is indeed something to be celebrated, as the Jewish cheer “L’Chaim!” proclaims.

Celebrated and protected.

As we move forward into the 21st century, into the auspicious year of 2012, let our aim be to reconnect with our prehistoric roots, to the simpler ages when we instinctively celebrated the return of the Light, the annual swing of our planet back towards the Sun.

For much too long, we have allowed religious politics to push us into conflicts and cruelties that do not serve the purpose of Life. In claiming to worship the Divine, we actually find ourselves serving the dark side, the side of Death and Destruction.

I use these capital letters advisedly, to emphasize the symbolism inherent in all these word-concepts.

Beyond the symbolic realm there is the literal bedrock of reality. We are hitting up against that reality now, as the patterns of power-hungry conflict, fueled by greed and a willingness to press on with destruction of the living world no matter the cost to systemic ecological health, play out with relentless precision.

This Easter and Passover season, let us do more than just toast to life. Let us commit ourselves to the service of the divine spark animating our planet, which circulates without distinction through every blade of grass, every insect, and every human being.

It is only in our positive reciprocal commitment to Life that we can consider ourselves truly blessed.

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez teaches comparative literature and gender studies with an activist bent at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, MA and blogs at Transition Times.

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