Today is both the beginning of Passover and Good Friday, a coincidence of the calendar that gives Jews and Christians many opportunities to reflect on shared experiences of their distinct but closely linked faiths.
Both religious traditions are commemorating liberating events. Passover recalls Moses leading the Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery. On Good Friday, Christians mourn the crucifixion of Jesus, a Jew.
The language of the Christian liturgy reinforces the links. The Passion -- or suffering of Jesus on the cross after the Last Supper, the Passover meal -- is sometimes called the New Exodus of the People of God.
Jesus Christ is called the Paschal Lamb.
But other seasonal traditions are shared as well. The Haggada, the book of the Passover readings and rituals, reminds Jews of their obligation to provide hospitality, to "let all who are hungry come and eat." Concern for the afflicted and for the stranger is voiced.
"Concern for the less fortunate is a hallmark of Jewish tradition, and Jewish teachings are replete with specific guidelines in this regard," said Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, commenting recently on the meaning of Passover.
The Jewish observances begin at sundown today.
Similarly, Good Friday for Christians is a time of concern for people in need.
One local congregation's response to this obligation is planned for 6 p.m. today, when members of Light Street Presbyterian Church, 809 Light St. near the Inner Harbor, will serve dinner at a women's and children's shelter.
G; For information and to volunteer: 685-5028 or 539-0125.
Continuing an ecumenical tradition of years past, Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave. in Towson, has scheduled a seven-part Good Friday service from noon to 3 p.m. today. Seven clergy representing five denominations will preach.
They are the Rev. Leland Mebust of Ascension Lutheran Church; Bishop George Paul Mocko of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church; the Rev. Christopher Peiper of Trinity Episcopal Church; the Rev. Avery Penn of Mount Olive Baptist Church; the Rev. McCarl Roberts, a United Methodist minister who heads the Maryland Bible Society; the Rev. George Toole of Towson Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Frederick Weinert of Calvary Baptist Church.
The service will include choral and instrumental anthems, readings, prayers and solemn silences. All are welcome.
Among the Easter sunrise services scheduled in Maryland Sunday is one beginning at 6:15 a.m. at Faith Bible Church, 5810 Timberview Drive in Elkridge. Information: 796-2727.
Another Northwest Baltimore sunrise service will begin at 6 a.m. at Walbrook Junction, sponsored by Shiloh A.M.E. Church, 2601 Lyndhurst Ave. Information: 367-8961.
"The Miracle of Prayer" is the subject of an illustrated lecture by author Rosemary Ellen Guiley at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Roland Park Country School, 5204 Roland Ave.
7+ Admission is $8. Information: 323-5500.
Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a Pennsylvania Democrat defeated in November, will speak at 3 p.m. April 23 at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Ave.
Ms. Margolies-Mezvinsky was a member of Baltimore Hebrew's 1958 Confirmation class. From 1971 to 1992, she was a television correspondent whose reporting won her five Emmy awards. The subject of her lecture is "Women and Politics: Making the Difference for the Next Generation."
Admission to the lecture and a reception is $20. Information: 764-1587.
Faith in space:
Marine Corps Col. Charles F. Bolden Jr., deputy commandant the U.S. Naval Academy and former astronaut and space shuttle commander, will address the Churchman's Club of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland at a dinner meeting beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Belvedere, Charles and Chase streets.
The public is invited but reservations are required.
The cost is $35. Information: 298-5683.