Spring is the season for the holidays of Passover and Shavuot, Easter and Pentecost. In the Jewish tradition, Passover is often described as the celebration of physical
liberation from slavery (i.e. the Exodus story) and Shavuot represents spiritual liberation and revelation. In fact, the Torah refers
to Passover as “Chag ha’Aviv,” the holiday of spring. Easter and Pentecost, May Day and LGBT Pride Month also occur during spring, all of which are joyful celebrations of freedom.
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg wrote:
Biblical language and
symbol point to spring as the proper season for deliverance. The rebirth of
earth after winter is nature's indication that life overcomes death: spring is
nature's analogue to redemption. Life blossoming, breaking winter's death grip,
gives great credence to the human yearning for liberation. (from myjewishlearning.com)
Many religious teachings affirm this theme of springtime as
Rev. Janice Steele, of Imani Community UCC in Sacramento, writes:
"The challenge for us on Pentecost Sunday is to understand and recognize that every gift is valuable and every gift is necessary… Part of living a full life, one that is meaningful, full of passion and excitement is tapping into our spiritual gifts. When we activate our spiritual gifts, it is always beneficial to the good of the community."
I must confess that I flinched a little when I read a few definitions of the word redemption; they were laden with religious jargon that obscured the essence of its true meaning. Here is a new possibility for a definition of redemption:
Redemption as graced restoration, complete healing, return to wholeness.
Although redemption is sometimes thought of as a solitary experience, both liberation and redemption can inspire people to act collectively in the service of community and social justice.
Our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives. –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What is one new step you could take toward redemption?