Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Sense of Time

In my study of the Jewish religion, and how it relates to the Christian faith, I am learning that there is a strong sense of historical time and recognition in the annual remembrances of Judaism. At specific times each year, historical events are not just commemorated but recreated. The chapter of Leviticus 23 explains the purpose of the Sabbath and goes on to summarize other appointed festivals of the Jewish calender. These festivals are appointed times or seasons, moments in time when the eternal, spiritual world can be glimpsed. The rituals and prayers associated with each festival, from biblical times until now, are a means to spiritual experience, ways of appropriating the significance of God's activity in the history of a people, and making it your own. The festivals also give the year a spiritual rhythm.

We are approaching the Fall Holy Days, beginning with Rosh Hashanah on September 18, the beginning of a new calender year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Season of Returning

Lead us back, our Father, to your Word; bring us near, our King to your service, and cause us to return in perfect repentance before you. Blessed are you, O Lord, who accepts repentance.---from the Amidah, prayers of the Jewish liturgy.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

We are entering into a season of Returning and Repentance.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Hope in a Garden

Today while doing yard work, I noticed that a single rose had bloomed on one of my several neglected rose bushes. I have not fertilized, nurtured, or even watered the roses this year. They have been greatly abandoned by me. This has been a year when I wanted to give up gardening because everything I planted either died or withered away. A year of trying to make things happen, and they just didn't happen.

But today when I saw that rose, it reminded me that flowers still bloom when we least expect them. The promise inside a seed will produce a plant, a flower, a fruit sometimes--even when we least expect it. If a flower bloomed out of neglect and abandonment, how many more roses would my bush have produced if I had nurtured and given it lots of attention? I felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit say, "Don't give up. Continue to nurture you dreams. You never know when a beautiful rose will emerge and surprise you."