The Power of Spring Faith

Photo by Javarh from

Spring is prime time for people of three major faith traditions – Muslims, Jews, and Christians. This week’s post explores my recent experience of Easter as a Christian in the larger context of these three faith traditions.

This Easter was a challenging one for me in several ways. The Christian tradition encourages attention to fasting, prayer and almsgiving during Lent, the 40 days that prepare for Easter. Easter has more meaning for me when I pay attention to the invitations of Lent and adapt my practices to positive and prayerful areas. This year I turned to self-care, kindness to others, and quieting the voice of my inner critic. I took a deeper look at loving and what blocks it. Easter had more meaning because of this work during Lent, especially because of participating with my faith community in the lessons of Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

I have from time to time struggled with the question of why God allows pain and suffering in the world.  I revisited that question this year from a slightly different angle. I was part of two discussions about why a loving God would request human sacrifices. In the Old Testament Yahweh asks Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. At the last minute, Yahweh, moved by Abraham’s faith and willingness to make this inconceivable sacrifice of his son, relents and an animal is sacrificed.

In the New Testament, God asks for Jesus to die on a cross, tortured and ridiculed. Jesus agonizes over this assignment to die for humankind, asking that, if it is possible, this not be necessary. And then, he too makes a leap of faith and says “Thy will be done”. For Christians, the story does not end with Jesus’ death on the cross. He rises from the dead, appears to his disciples, and then encourages them to proclaim this story to all.

My pondering of why a loving God needs human sacrifice had me look at human nature and our track record over thousands of years. We don’t seem very able to get along and to share with one another. We seem to scapegoat “the other” who is “less than” and “different”. We have a hard time sharing power, and the resources needed to survive as humans. We sometimes think our time in history is unique in the hate, violence and war. A look at history challenges this belief.

So, my Lenten meanderings returned me to the need for LOVE and a belief that “God”, or the Big Spirit, or whatever one calls this power is bigger than our strife and hatred. Life is messy and difficult, and pain is inevitable. Denying its presence doesn’t change reality. We struggle for language to explain the relationship between our pain and suffering, and this force for LOVE.

The Christian belief in Jesus’ death and rising, to me, is a statement of how powerful the force for LOVE is. Nothing is bigger or more merciful than this force for LOVE. That, to me, is what the remembering and reliving of Jesus dying and rising is about. This DIVINE LOVE used the sacrifice of an adult child to prove the limitlessness of this force for love and mercy.

My faith then is a source of comfort and much more. Without it, I would likely give up on the possibility that good will triumph over evil. Without faith in LOVE and what one of my friends calls the DIVINE ENERGY, there is no reason to hope.

Returning to our three faith traditions – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – we share this desire to reject our barriers to love and to embrace LOVE. All three faiths look to nature and the cycles of the moon and the sun to decide when we celebrate our spring renewal of faith and love. Easter is early this year because of the timing of the full moon following the spring equinox. Passover is later in April (22-30) this year because the Hebrew calendar is based on lunar cycles. Ramadan was early this year beginning March 10 and ending April 9 with the celebration of Eid. The sighting of the crescent moon influences when Ramadan begins, so it varies each year.

Each tradition has its rituals of fasting and seeking to grow spiritually. Each tradition inspires love and justice. These faiths seem to mirror the lessons of nature – the dying and annual rebirth of life. Spring and our traditional faiths encourage us to hope. Whether emanating from appreciation for nature, ethical beliefs or a traditional faith, we all seem invited to believe in the healing power of love. May this spring find a way to renew our hope in the power of love.


  1. Dan Rosen

    This is one of my favorite reflections.

    Spring is no respecter of age and can begin in us when we are twenty or eighty. We may worry about the presumption of beginning “out of season.” Am I too old? Would not the adventure and the risk be better left to younger persons? That is not the point.
    Our business at any age can be spring. It is ours only to assess the love and presence of God, and to let ourselves go in the “ever widening circles,” as the poet Rilke once described his life. We do not have to see the end, the final circle. Rilke said, “I may not ever complete the last one, but I give myself to it.” …A young rabbi walks to Jerusalem and disappears forever into springtime…
    Perhaps a lifetime is for coming to the place where we freely give ourselves at any age, time, or place to acts of courage and trust. Spring is more than the greening maple, the red-winged blackbird. It is a deep momentum that moves the world toward the fulfillment of the Benevolent Promise we hear every spring at the edge of a once and winter pond as it wakes in warmth and song to another beginning. The Daybook Spring 1998, Marv and Nancy Hiles

    • Tom Adams

      Thanks Dan for sharing this beaautiful reflection on the power of spring and creative energy for good. I see why it is one of your favorites. Be well,


  2. sally mac

    I love the tie in with the lunar cycle, given the recent eclipse frenzy. Sister Moon had her “spot light.” The euphoria of those sharing in her showcase gives us a glimpse of the Divine!

    • Tom Adams

      Thanks Sally for the reminder of the power of light and love and the dance with darkness!