Thursday, August 29, 2013

Too many days of Judgement

Yom HaDin, the day of Judgement. It is coming. We are preparing for it. We are (to be) asking for forgiveness, and expressing our yearning to dwell in God's house. In this month of Elul before that Judgement Day we sing from Psalm 27:

Achat Shaalti: One thing do I ask of God, for this do I yearn, to dwell in the house of God all the days of my life; to see goodness of God and to visit (early) God's sanctuary.

The poet of thousands of years ago captured a desire --no matter the generation--to be connected to something greater than self.

"What gets in the way?" asked my West Indie taxi driver who had just learned that Elohim, a name for God, was plural. "El in Hebrew is God," he told me, "and eem is plural. You see, this proves the Trinity. The father, the son and the Holy Spirit." He had closed his worn Bible when I entered the cab.

As he drove me home from the train  he shared his frustration why more people don't hear God. We talked about the noise that is hard to shut out.   "The busy-ness..the business gets in the way."

We built sanctuaries to shut out the busyness. We created ritual to lift us and humble us. We are alive today and we may not be tomorrow. This is fact. And so the only thing you can do is act with kindness and hold on to hope.

We need sanctuaries to shut out the busyness. To lift us. To humble us. To direct us. We need to dwell in the house of God.

And so what gets in the way?

"I'm not sure I can belong to a synagogue" someone recently said to me, "my daughter is gay and my son is married to a Catholic woman. I need a place where they can come and feel comfortable."

A colleague working on a synagogue's vision/mission project heard from younger members
that the core defining characteristics of community that they value is that "it feels comfortable and inviting for a diverse  group of Jews and supports them on their own journeys."

Is this the norm? Or are the sanctuaries we built so filled with judgement that our true selves that need to be lifted and humbled, that yearn to dwell with something greater than self, can't come in to shut out the busyness?

Is our work to create sanctuaries for at-one-ment..and not judgement?
 Is this the one thing we should be asking of our sanctuaries.
Can I dwell without judgement? And if I can, then I can learn why Elohim doesn't mean, according to my own people's story, God is three.