Sunday, July 13, 2014

After worship musings...

The take away from today: there is a powerful connection between the
first commandment and the fourth. When the Scriptures say that we are to "love the Lord our God" who brought us out of the land of Egypt and its slavery, it looks like this:  1) worship NO other gods; 2) bow down to NO idols; 3) NEVER trivialize your promises to the Lord; and 4) honor the Sabbath and keep it holy. Often times we like to say that we were made in the image of God and God does not make junk. A corollary should be: our God rests - so we should must make certain we're not obsessed or addicted to restlessness. In fact, it would be fair to say that to honor God and worship no other gods or idols means we will practice and honor Sabbath keeping in some way, shape or form.

+ We had a good discussion about that today and most of us had to agree we had never seen the connection. Brueggemann is clear that the commandments begin with an Exodus narrative, but for whatever reason that has almost never been part of our catechesis. Small wonder, yes? As one person said out loud: when you put it like that, the commandments almost seem anti-American. Or at the very least they make a distinction between God's way and our addiction to the market-place.

+ So when I asked what might we do to begin to reclaim the wisdom and grace of Sabbath, one wise soul said: boycott retailers on Sunday. Another suggested we all gather for an extended, slow feast after worship on some Sundays throughout the year. And one of my colleagues noted that people are no more sinful or cruel than 4000 years ago - we're just more stressed-out and jammed for time.

+ We sang a sweet, simple version of JT's "Country Roads" to give people time to think about how they might make a Sabbath commitment - and then I invited them to Eucharist. As brother Brueggemann writes: "I have come to think that the moment of giving the bread of Eucharist as gift is the quintessential center of the notion of Sabbath rest in the Christian tradition. It is a gift. We receive in gratitude. Imagine having a sacrament named "thanks!" We are on the receiving end, with accomplishment, achievement or qualification. It is a gift and we are grateful. What a peaceful alternative... for the many who are weary and heavy-laden, cumbered with a load of care."

And after Eucharist I shared a prayer/psalm written by my colleague Rabbi Rachel Barenblat for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine.

Prayer for the Children of Abraham / Ibrahim
For every aspiring ballerina huddled
scared in a basement bomb shelter

    For every toddler in his mother's arms
    behind rubble of concrete and rebar

For every child who's learned to distinguish
"our" bombs from "their" bombs by sound

    For everyone wounded, cowering, frightened
    and everyone furious, planning for vengeance

For the ones who are tasked with firing shells
where there are grandmothers and infants 

    For the ones who fix a rocket's parabola
    toward children on school playgrounds

For every official who sees shelling Gaza
as a matter of "cutting the grass" 

    And every official who approves launching projectiles
    from behind preschools or prayer places
For every kid taught to lob a bomb with pride
And every kid sickened by explosions 

    For every teenager who considers
    "martyrdom" his best hope for a future:

May the God of compassion and the God of mercy
God of justice and God of forgiveness

    God Who shaped creation in Her tender womb
    and nurses us each day with blessing

God Who suffers the anxiety and pain
of each of His unique children

    God Who yearns for us to take up
    the work of perfecting creation
God Who is reflected in those who fight
and in those who bandage the bleeding --

    May our Father, Mother, Beloved, Creator
    cradle every hurting heart in caring hands.

Soon may we hear in the hills of Judah
and the streets of Jerusalem

    in the olive groves of the West Bank
    and the apartment blocks of Gaza City

in the kibbutz fields of the Negev
and the neighborhoods of Nablus

    the voice of fighters who have traded weapons
    for books and ploughs and bread ovens

the voice of children on swings and on slides
singing nonsense songs, unafraid

    the voice of reconciliation and new beginnings
    in our day, speedily and soon.

And let us say:


It was good to be back with my congregation and today I give thanks to the Lord.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Amen and amen.

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