Easter and Passover and Ramadan

This year’s religious holiday season has three major religions celebrating three major holidays all at the same time.

Easter, Passover and Ramadan rarely all fall in the same calendar space.

This year is different than many years past.

We all know Easter marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.

Many are aware of the Jewish Passover, which marks the deliverance of the Jewish people from centuries of slavery in ancient Egypt.

Ramadan is the Moslem holiday marking the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.

From Jesus we are persuaded that God is the loving father of all life, as incapable of showing favour as the universal sun. In the parable of the laborers, Jesus tells us that all men were brothers – sinners alike and beloved sons alike – of this divine father.

All whom God takes unto the kingdom, he taught, God serves alike; there is no distinction in his treatment, because there is no measure to his bounty.

It is clear that his teaching condemned all the gradations of the economic system, all private wealth and personal advantages.

All men belonged to the kingdom; all their possessions belonged to the kingdom; the righteous life for all men, the only righteous life, was the service of God’s will with all that we had, with all that we were. How hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God, Jesus said.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

The Jewish Passover embodies freedom from slavery.

It requires the retelling of the story of the Jews fleeing Egypt, of the Red Sea opening up, and then of the 40 years in the dessert eating unleavened bread and wandering, ultimately, to the far ends of the earth.

The Jews are around a good 2,000 years before the birth and death of Jesus.

The monotheistic God is born of the Jews, and Jewish thinking and prayers throughout the ions of time, glorify and sanctify God.

The years of slavery in Egypt represent the most bitter of experiences and of times for the Jewish people.

The release from slavery of the Jews is recalled with joyousness, feasting, and prayers praising God from Passover to Passover almost since the beginning of recorded history.

How ironic it is that Jesus’s last supper was a seder dinner. Jesus, of course, was a Jew.

As the Jewish people pray together during the mornings of the Passover they always recite this prayer:

“Magnified and sanctified be his great Name in the world which he hath created according to his will. May he establish his kingdom in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of all the house of Israel…Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be he, beyond, yea, beyond all blessings and hymns praises and songs, which are uttered in the world; and say ye, Amen.”

Ramadan is a commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation. The annual observance of this holiday is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

It lasts 29-30 days. From one sighting of the crescent moon to the next.

Fasting from dawn until sunset is an obligation for all adult Muslims.

Suhur is the pre-dawn morning meal. Iftar is the evening feast that brakes the fast.

All forms of sinful behavior are to be dropped entirely. Muslims are to devote themselves to prayer (slat) and study the Quran.

Ramadan was founded during the earliest part of the 7th Century AD.

Ramadan as we have come to know it teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and empathy for those who are less fortunate.

It is about fostering generosity and compulsory charity.

A famous prayer from the Quran recited on Ramadan at the end of the day of fasting goes like this: “Oh Allah! I fasted for you and I believe in You and I put my trust in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance.”

All three of these major holidays are intended to exalt humankind, to recall the history and the joy of giving oneself to their religion and to their God, and with that, we wish all our readers a very happy holiday!

Leave a Reply