Hail the conquering hero! Beowulf, Alexander the Great, Xerxes, Romulans, Marcus Aurelius, Hannibal, Caesar the Ape... okay, we'll stop here. Needless to say (but you know we're going to anyway), the world is full of conquering heroes. Did you know the Bible has one, too? His name is Joshua. Written in Hebrew during the late 7th century BCE, the Book of Joshua is the first recorded text of the Bible and kicks off what is known as the Historical Books. This doesn't mean that everything is to be taken literally (like our jokes). History was originally meant to teach a community about how to be good citizens and way less concerned with historical accuracy. The Book of Joshua, which reads like a game of Risk, tells the tale of a man named Joshua (didn't see that one coming) and his conquest of the land of Canaan with the Israelite army. Joshua was Moses's replacement to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The problem? People already lived there. Joshua had the unfortunate job of clearing out the wandering tribes of Canaan so the Israelites could have a home. We think of this like when you go to play in the ball pit, but it's already filled with kids so you kick them all out because it's your turn. Of course that's all hypothetical. We don't do that anymore. We're proud to say we haven't kicked a child out of a ball pit since last week. Like Exodus, the Book of Joshua is about a nation discovering its identity and home in a foreign land, but it's also a very personal story about an ambitious patriot who sees it as his duty to sacrifice everything for his people and God. If that doesn't scream a rockin' good time, we're not sure what does. Maybe if this all took place in a ball pit.
Nevertheless, Bishop Dabre cautioned that “Holi must live the holy joy, and the joy a religion should spread is not without norms or principles but must be coupled with the observance of commandments.” The true joy that emanates from religion must respect the freedom of others; not impose our likes and dislikes on others,” he reflected. Hindus begin the celebration with a Holika bonfire the evening prior to Holi, which relates to the myth upon which the festival is based. However, the throwing of color and water which all Indians participate in is a manifestation of joy and friendship across religious lines. Bishop Dabre also noted that “religion must be experienced as a liberating experience of freedom, and this is very significant in the context of religious terrorism and extremism in different parts of the world, and in India.”
He lamented the rise of such groups as the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Islamic State, saying that in these cases, “religion has become a cause of fear, terror, injustice and oppression.” In the light of recent persecution and discrimination against Christians in India, Bishop Dabre lamented that “even in our country, in the name of religion unreasonable restriction are imposed on the people; force and pressure is employed to reconvert people and to ban the adoption of a religion of one’s choice … also gruesome crimes are committed against women and people of the so-called low caste. Thus, religion has become a matter of grievous concern. “However, “in such a situation Holi gives an important lesson that religion must spread true joy and freedom,” he added.
International Day of Forests
International Day of Forests seeks to celebrate forests while providing a platform to raise awareness of the importance of trees. The day also raises awareness of rapid deforestation and educates about the vital role that forests and trees play in sustaining and protecting humans by supplying us with freshwater and oxygen. In fact, forested watersheds and wetlands provide the world with nearly 75% of its accessible freshwater. International Day of Forests was declared in December 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly in an effort to promote the importance of forests to humans and aid in conservation efforts. International Day of Forests is observed annually on March 21st. Since then, International Forest Day has become one of the most influential global events advocating for forest conservation in the world.
In the moments when you are tempted to be careless or halfhearted in the struggle, let these exhortations stir you to a renewed valor in battle and provide you with strategies to follow.