In all the years that I have been hosting the Sunday #SpiritChat, it has become a sort of tradition to ‘pause’ the weekly virtual gathering of our community on Easter Sunday. One reason for the ‘pause’ is that it is a day for celebration with ‘real life’ friends and family and local community. Many of our #SpiritChat community members are traveling or hosting travelers in their homes. Another reason is that it is usually ‘spring break’ time for my school-going daughter, and I myself am traveling. Perhaps the biggest reason for the ‘pause’ is that it serves as a day of reverence, renewal, reflection and, often, new spiritual resolutions for me and many in the community.
However, this year, life is a bit different because a lot of us are not going to be gathering with our ‘real life’ communities on Easter. A lot of us are ‘physical distancing’ to help contain the spread of the pandemic, and we can see some positive results emerging from our efforts, as each of us in our small way contribute to the wellness of the whole. So, we break ‘tradition’ and gather virtually, to connect and celebrate our collaborative spirit of compassion.
When I started to think about the topic for this unique day, I initially thought about resolve, resolution, renewal, rebirth, and yes, even resurrection. However, the more I read about how different communities, cities, states and countries have been responding to this unique challenge, the more I asked myself the question – what is the greatest need of the current situation? To rephrase the question in the form that was popular a few years ago — What would Jesus Do (WWJD)?
Two Aprils ago, we were all in Southern Brazil on my father-in-law’s farm for the Easter holiday and spring break. There were a lot of gatherings with my wife’s immediate and extended family. The one event that was perhaps most impactful to me was the one that I hadn’t planned on or expected to attend. It was an Easter service at the family’s local church where my wife’s cousin is the priest. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I had never attended an Easter service before. I went with an open heart, with the expectation that I would find some common ground with temple services.
Sure enough, there was common ground aplenty. There was light through candles, there was music and singing through the choir and congretation’s singing, there were rituals and pageantry, and much more. Above all, there was family togetherness, and the peace among all those gathered was palpable and pronounced. At the start of the service, when the priest and processional walked through the center aisle with the Cross held high, I was immediately reminded of Swami Vivekanda’s famous quote — “ Unfurl the banner of Love! – Arise, Awake and stop not until the goal is reached.”
Compassion is our common ground because it represents a commingling of all the different streams of love, with a passion for each others’ well-being. Love is the banner that has been raised in all times, by all spiritual teachers of all spiritual denominations. When we raise the banner of compassion, we celebrate the resurrection and empowerment of the heart. When so empowered, we evoke grace, we act with tenderness, we put into motion the wheels of empathy.
So, for the opportunity to raise compassion and find common ground, let us gather virtually again. Let us celebrate the heart’s resurgence, and honor the remembrance of love and light that Easter represents.
P.S. What does (spiritual) Easter represent to you? Share with us in our weekly gathering on twitter in #SpiritChat – Sunday, April 12 at 9amET / 1pm GMT / 630pm India. To all those celebrating, Happy Easter and Feliz Pascoa! Namaste – @AjmaniK
Let the Lillies rise again…