Passover and Easter – Celebrating Both, Denigrating Neither

I am so looking forward to this Sunday.  Passover begins Friday night, and Easter is Sunday morning.  We plan to celebrate and honor both, Living Interfaith style.  As it’s developed, that’s a rather special style.  We are not going to be seeking some kind of lowest common religious  denominator.  Rather, we will honor Easter with a service (a little shorter than usual), and then honor Passover with a Seder (a little shorter than usual). 

Side by side.  No attempts to “compare and contrast.”  And certainly no attempts to trump one with the other.  Rather, we honor two foundationally important holy days, and celebrate them.

A friend who is a chaplain atSwedishHospital, will be speaking at the Easter service.  She’s Quaker.  Her sermon is titled: “Experience the Resurrection.”  We will have a reading from Christian Scripture, and close the service with the hymn “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” 

Then we’ll transition to a Passover Seder, where we will experience the ritual foods and prayers of Passover, which I will admit is my favorite Jewish holy day.  I won’t be giving a sermon, but as one of the elder Jews present, I probably have a word or two to share.

The traditional Seder is broken up with the Passover dinner.  We’ll have a potluck lunch.  And instead of the usual Seder table discussions, I have a feeling we’ll have a rather free-wheeling discussion of how we experience Resurrection, as well as how we experience and practice freedom.

This is Interfaith as I have always envisioned it.  A celebration of our common humanity.  An honoring of differing spiritual traditions without argument.  Where we learn from one another, instead of throw stones at one another. 

And I’ll bite my tongue and try very hard not to mention even once that my book The Interfaith Alternative is now available.   🙂   I won’t even mention the book’s website!  (www.InterfaithAlternative.com) . 

I celebrate Easter because friends that I love and respect are Christian, and I want to respect and honor this Christian holy day because they are important to me.  The Christians in our congregation will celebrate Passover with me, not because they’ve converted, but because they wish to honor a Jewish holy day.  And the Baha’i, Buddhist, Muslim, and Humanist members of our congregation will come and celebrate with us for the same reasons. 

This is Interfaith.  This is how we can move ahead and build a world in which we work together, with the compassion and love that all of our paths have tried to teach us.  We do not need to divide ourselves.  It is time for unity.  True unity.  A unity of compassion and a unity of action in the world.

We can do this.  And, as Hillel taught us, “If not now, when?”

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