Written by Rev Steven McAfee
This is Passover week in the Jewish world and Easter in the Christian. When Yeshua (Jesus) was alive, there was no distinction between the two groups because there was no Christianity. He and his disciples were Jews who celebrated Passover (and all the other Jewish holy days and festivals), and, supposedly, his so-called “Last Supper” was a Passover dinner. Whether you are Jewish or Christian or neither, this can be a significant time for you.
As you may know, for Jews, this is a time commemorating the liberation of the Hebrews from over four hundred years of enslavement. It is also considered a time to look within ourselves and see what is enslaving us today – cultural opinions, social pressures, depression, addiction, attachments, negative habitual reactive patterns, judgments against ourselves, and a seemingly endless array of other things, inwardly or outwardly based. For Christians, it is a joyful time to celebrate Yeshua’s resurrection and the fulfilling of God’s promises. Because there is so much energy going on all around the world this week emphasizing the importance of freedom, it is a propitious time to be grateful for the freedoms we have and to look at what we may be ready to release, in order to step into even greater freedom within. And in case you have not noticed, gratitude always opens our hearts and creates a greater receptivity within us. And isn’t greater receptivity itself a greater freedom than being closed down and constricted?
So, what will you stop holding onto this week that is creating distance in your life – distance between you and God within you, or distance between you and someone you love in the world? In the mystical teachings of ancient Judaism they talked of many “realms” or “heavenly palaces” between this world and the “heavens” where God dwelt. But the highest realm, the realm where souls could literally stand in the presence of the living God, Lord of all creation, was called “Atzilut.” It literally means “nearness.” What we naturally want to do when we love someone is to draw close to them. In other words, to experience “nearness.” What prevents us from having the intimate relationship with God (or others) that we long for is the distance we create within us – through our fears, our bitterness, our anger, our shame, our false beliefs, our attitudes, and, perhaps most of all, our unwillingness to yield to love: all the many ways we deny the truth of who we are and how much we are truly loved.
Isn’t it time? Time to release all the holding back, all the sadness, all the need to protect ourselves from the very thing we want most. One day, we will tire of living life at a distance and will step forward into the awaiting divine embrace, inwardly into the arms of God, outwardly into the arms of those who love us. Will that day be today? Only you can answer.