We are all on a journey, this holy week. In addition to the Christian Easter observances of Palm Sunday and Easter (Jesus’s journey into Jerusalem & from death into resurrection), last Friday marked Muhammed’s journey (in one miraculous night) from Mecca to Jerusalem, and on to an audience with God, in the highest heaven. Wednesday marks not just the journey of the Jews from Egypt into their birth as a people, but it also marks the births of Buddha as well as Hanuman (the Hindu monkey god & avatar of Shiva).
This year, these journeys are held in counterpoint to the journey of COVID-19 through the communities of the whole world, leaving death of thousands due to the pandemic. But it also invites us to an inward journey, to look with new eyes and hearts to what we are being birthed into. At its heart, the Passover tale is not merely about liberation from that which enslaves us, but also manifests a birth into a new way of being in the world.
Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Muhammed, Hanuman…. They each provide us with gifts to sustain us in this moment of global heartache, and to begin to envision the possibilities this moment can offer us, if we will but envision the world we want to enter when we leave our sheltered homes.
Buddha was raised in wealth and privilege. But his journey awoke him to the suffering around him. It also taught him, that the fears and angst we cling to are merely illusion.
Jesus was raised to honor Torah’s precepts, which demanded justice for the stranger, the widow and the orphan. His journey broke open his heart, to have compassion for each person, as a child of God.
Moses, forsook life in the palace of Pharaoh, because of the cruelty of his slave drivers. His journey, led him to speak truth to power and liberate his people from enslavement and hopelessness.
Muhammed rose from the life of an illiterate orphan to bring unity to the scattered Arabic peoples, uniting them with the other Peoples of the Book, through devotion, prayer and compassion.
Hanuman, born (through the capriciousness of the gods) with the face of a monkey, was known for selfless service to Lord Rama. His journey led him to remember the powers and gifts he had forgotten; to leap into possibility.
In this week, of rising anguish and death, may we remember our gifts. May we see through the illusions caused by fear. May we become the face of compassion. May we be of service to all those in need. May we be reminded that when we are united in our common humanity, we can overcome any challenge. May we take the leaps of faith which will open the doors of hope to the kind of world we all wish to live in.