When I think of Passover and Easter and the events they celebrate, I feel an acute awareness and a sense of awe about the common elements they commemorate.

Passover gets its name from the Angel Of Death passing over the houses of the Jews to spare the lives of their first born-sons. The Jews had suffered many indignities and were enslaved because they refused to believe as the Egyptians did. This action would set the scene for the Jews to escape from their captors and flee to the promised land of Israel. This explanation, although somewhat simplistic, is a reminder of the importance of freedom and how those of us who have been denied it, will use any means to get it.

Easter embodies the idea of rebirth, whether the reference is to Jesus being resurrected after being crucified or to the blossoming of new life the spring brings with it. So what do the ideas of escaping from slavery into freedom and being brought back to life from death have in common?

On a first look, slavery is a type of death. We are trapped and our spirit begins to wither and slowly die. Escaping to freedom gives the spirit a chance to resurrect.

But if we look more deeply at the symbolism of the two holidays in terms of the resurrection of the spirit, we can learn more about ourselves.

Incidents from the past that continue to hurt us in the present create a type of slavery of the spirit. When we hold onto these old hurts, we become our own jailers, keeping ourselves in bondage. So, how do we find freedom from these old wounds?

  1. Acknowledge the hurt. If an incident keeps coming up, perhaps it’s time to look at it.
  2. Rectifying the situation if possible. A simple apology or talk can provide enormous release.
  3. Forgiveness of harms done can lift the spirit.
  4. Let go of the anger of the past. When my past encroaches on my present, usually during a time I’m trying to move forward with something important in my life, I have to look at what ever it is and realize that unless there is something that needs to or can be done about it, I have to let go of the pain. If I do not, I am then giving that incident the power to keep hurting me or to keep holding me back. I’ve then become part of the problem and my own jailer.

It takes courage to pass over events of the past and grow beyond them. But what we gain is freedom. And with that freedom our spirits can blossom and grow. What do Passover and Easter have in common? They are the celebration of the human spirit, moving from darkness into light.

If you’ve had an experience like this, please share it here. We learn from each other.