Monday, June 9, 2008

Three blessings

Today I had lunch with an incredible musician and woman of spirit. We met recently at a wedding and really enjoyed one another's gifts. I am always taken aback when serendipity grabs my heart and this was one of those times: she has such grace and beauty in her playing - and such focused presence, too. We spoke of beauty and truth and helping others connect with those deep places of healing and hope within that go deeper than words or spiritual traditions. We hope to discover ways of working together to deepen this calling and I am certain that this was one of the reasons we left Tucson for the Berkshires. The theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasaar, put it like this:

We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past - whether he admits it or not - can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.

(You might enjoy listening to her play piano at:

I went from lunch to preparing for a class exploring the spiritual wisdom of the movie, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Ten people gathered tonight in the Berkshire heat wave to think about what it means to be childlike -and mature - in pursuit of God's kingdom. It was fun, deep, confusing and energizing to be with others who ache to go deeper into God's grace at this moment in time - the second blessing of the day.

And on Thursday of this week the debut of the new Berkshire Interfaith Alliance goes public at the Colonial Theatre with a showing of a film about disability, the spiritual journey within Judaism and the importance of community: “Praying With Lior." Following the film, Rabbi David Greenspoon of Congregation Knesset Israel will lead a talk-back session about the film with any interested audience members. The film is open to the public as part of the Colonial Theatre’s on-going film series. Tickets are $8.

This new consortium is building a community seeking common ground while respecting the differences within our tradition's and insights. It looks like another way to overcome the horrific and ugly divides of the culture war - blessing number three. Dear Emily Dickson wrote:

I died for Beauty - but was scarce
Adjusted in the Tomb
When One who died for Truth, was lain
In an adjoining room
He questioned softly "Why I failed"?

"For Beauty", I replied --
"And I -- for Truth -- Themself are One
We Brethren, are", He said
And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night
We talked between the Rooms
Until the Moss had reached our lips
And covered up - our names

The Sufi mystic, Rumi, writes:
Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, idolater, worshipper of fire,
Come even though you have broken your vows a hundred time,
Come, and come yet again,
Ours is not a caravan of despair…

And the ancient Psalmist proclaims in Psalm 89:
Compassion and Justice are the roots of your rule;
Love and Truth are its fruits.
Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise,
who shout on parade in the bright presence of God. Delighted, they dance all day long; they know
who you are, what you do—they can't keep it quiet!
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us—
you've been so good to us! We're walking on air!

Thank you, O Sacred Love, for this day.


Black Pete said...

"Why do we hunger for beauty?"

--Jim Croegaert

rbarenblat said...

A blessing for me today is seeing a photograph of my dear teacher Reb Shawn in your blog post here -- playing guitar and praying with Lior! :-)

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