Of Hope Eternal

April 19, 1992

This Holy Week is a time for friends and family, a time of spiritual rebirth and affirmation. For some of us, it is an ecclesiastical celebration of Christianity, of Jesus Christ's triumph over death. For others, it is a commemoration of God's deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Of freedom. For all, it is a reminder that hope springs eternal in the miracle we call life.

Once again, the season finds humanity steeped in conflict. A disastrous civil war in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A tumultuous passage of power in war-torn Afghanistan. Imminent famine in Somalia.

At home, we struggle with the twin burdens of recession and seismic economic shifts that have ripped security from millions of American lives. Children and their families gamble on good health in the absence of even the most basic health care. Too many of our young come into the world losers in the birth lottery, cast into a world shaped by drugs, guns, pain and poverty. Too many of our babies die before their lives hardly begin.

Yet there are points of light in the darkness. Terrika Johnson, a 4-year old child caught in errant gunfire in East Baltimore two weeks ago, survived a bullet still lodged behind one of her lungs. In Russia, a rough-hewn democracy is beginning to take shape in a morass of economic and political flux. South Africa continues its tortured march away from apartheid despite the personal troubles of the struggle's leaders. In the Holy Land, where Passover and Easter began, this year's observance is made richer by the presence of newcomers from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.

Each year brings its tragedies and triumphs. This Holy Week, coincident with spring, offers a respite from the former and an opportunity to savor the latter. A chance to reaffirm faith in a world where our burdens seem constant and extreme. We are an intriguing mix of beliefs and cultures that today find expression in special gatherings with family and friends. Some of our tables will be kosher; some will not.

.` Hope should be present at all.

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