This morning I’m feeling a sense of expectancy. The trees are silent outside – unmoving – as if they also know the call to stand up and be ready. It is the time of “High Holy Days” for Jews and Christians alike, an opportunity to bring the past into the present by remembering and recounting our religious heritage. For Christians the Scriptures of this week have moved from the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem this past Sunday, soon to be followed by ignominy of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, commemorated tomorrow in a stark ritual. The history of the Jews, stretching back so much further, recalls the exodus of Israelite slaves from Egypt, saved by God’s “passing over” of the houses of Israelites during the tenth plague that killed all of the first-born children of the Egyptians. Passover also stretches over a week, this year from tomorrow evening, March 30, to April 7.
Tonight, we Christians will listen to the story of Jesus sharing the Seder meal with his friends. At that meal, Jesus was celebrating his lineage, hearing the same stories that our Jewish friends will hear tomorrow night at their Seder and that we will hear at our Easter Vigil service on Saturday night. The significance of this confluence of celebrations is powerful, I think, for those of us who long for peace and unity in the world. Our root belief in a God who is faithful to the covenant made first with Abraham should be the bedrock of relationship. We Christians, the younger branch of the Judeo-Christian family, hold Jesus, a faithful Jew throughout his life, as our Messiah – the one who teaches us about the nature of God – the same God worshipped by our ancestors, the Hebrews.
Let us join our hearts and minds in celebration of what joins us and pray together for the peace that the world cannot give but which we find in the love and mercy of God.