Called

A blustery, rain dampened Easter morning, the early clouds now giving way to moments of sun and blue sky. Being early April, the sun has melted away the snow and warmed the ground allowing new growth in the understory at the forest edge. Once again we in the northern hemisphere celebrate the greening of the world.

Friday evening we went to synagogue for a potluck Passover seder.  About 110 people crowded into the sanctuary of what was formerly the Orthodox synagogue and is now the home of our small, very diverse congregation.

This year, as in most years, the focus of the evening was on our moral duty to resist slavery in all of its many forms. Resisting, as Rabbi Jan reminded us as she focused on slavery in the clothing manufacturing industry, involves an active refusal to do anything which furthers the enslavement of others. We are not, say the Torah and the Rabbis, to be slaves, nor in any way enslave others.

The seder repeats the story of the Jewish people’s Exodus from Egypt. It is a creation story not unlike many in Native America. It matters little whether a group became a people after emerging from the underworld, migrating many hundreds of miles, or joining together to flee slavery at the hands of an abusive power. What is important is acting together to create meaningful, lasting change under conditions of great hardship.

After an evening of friendship, laughter, good food, and deep thought, we came home to news of a police shooting of an unarmed black man, further governmental attacks on Native sacred sites and treaty rights, and the horrific murder of a Jewish Holocaust survivor in Paris. Even on this special night the forces of hatred and slavery were clearly hard at work to maintain the status quo.

Last night was the second night of Passover and we celebrated with a meal of vegetables, the compulsory eggs, and baklava from the Orthodox Church’s annual Greek Pastry sale. In the afternoon we had stopped at the sale to check out the deserts, ran into friends, and stayed for lunch and conversation!

This Easter morning we are reminded that even death must not be allowed to stop our relentless march towards freedom, justice, and the care of our fragile world. We are enjoined to remember that now, Just as in Jesus’ time, environmental degradation, institutional and paramilitary terror, and, all too often, the very political structure are used to create wealth for a few on the backs of the many.

Today we acknowledge that we are called to roll away the stone of hopelessness and isolation and allow joy into our too often fractured, lonely lives. We are encouraged to remember that when any suffer we all suffer, and that we must act daily to end slavery and suffering in all their forms.

Next year may we find ourselves living in a world of peace, joy, and kindness, a world of freedom from want, harm, and slavery. May it indeed be so!

 

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10 thoughts on “Called

  1. Beautiful words, Michael. “This Easter morning we are reminded that even death must not be allowed to stop our relentless march towards freedom, justice, and the care of our fragile world.” Amen! Happy Easter…Happy Passover…Many blessings ❤

  2. We skipped Seder and Easter service because our values are shifting more to the Earth (and because we tend not to leave the home and we tend to avoid others outside our household).

    Interestingly, we started reading the book the amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. So far, 140 pages in, the book’s theme seems to echo Rabbi Jan’s. So maybe we are observing the lessons of “change in seasons“ in other ways. Thank you for your thoughtful post. PS a wicked snowstorm for us today

    • I think there are many paths to the holy, and I am glad you have found ones that you find rewarding.
      One of the things we hold dear about the Rabbi is her thorough sense of grounding in the Earth.
      We had a couple of inches of snow Friday. It fell in great flakes and deposited a couple of inches in a hurry.

  3. What a beautiful post, Michael. I missed a few of yours during the three weeks I was without a computer. Woe is me. And I still want to write a post in response to the one you wrote on being loved into the world by our ancestors (or at least that is what I remember). I had it saved on my old computer but alas I am looking for it now.

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