As we continue in the long Season after Pentecost, we accompany the people of Israel on their long journey through the wilderness. In response to the question “What does wilderness mean for Jews?” Rabbi Adam Morris says:
“In Jewish tradition, the wilderness is the place and time that the Israelites wandered through after they were freed from slavery. This place is called the Midbar – which is Hebrew for “wilderness.” It was a scary and intimidating place. It seemed empty and lifeless compared to Egypt. Even though the Israelites were free, they did not like it. But, something very important happened in this barren, empty and desolate place where they pined away for the ‘comforts’ of Egypt – the people of Israel met God there. This meeting changed them forever…
“The Midbar – as desolate, empty and frightening as it was – was the place where our people knew God so well, it reminds us that we can know God in the places in our lives that feel empty, barren and frightening.”
>> Ask Rabbi Adam Morris a question
The readings for this week call us to remember what it means to be a people of God. The Focus for Worship, Learning, and Serving on page 77 reminds us that “Forgetting the ones with whom we are or have been connected, whether by purpose or neglect, strains relationships. Often what is needed is remembering – better yet, re-membering…Faithful remembrance does not simply mean recalling to mind. It leads to action that results, among other things, in putting that which is broken back together: to re-member.”
We received an encouraging email at firstname.lastname@example.org last week in which a church in the Republic of Panama told its story of remembering and re-membering.
With numbers that had dwindled to 12, a huge building, no minister, and no program, and no clue what to do next, one person “remembered” the Whole People of God as a program she loved back in 1998. Using an Internet search engine they found the publishers of Whole People of God and Seasons of the Spirit. At the beginning this congregation used everything in the worship resource of Seasons of the Spirit – from liturgy to the music to the sermon. They began to discover the gifts within the community and to “play around the edges.” With people of all ages turning up for worship there is a re-membering – a community being “put back together.” This re-membered community is now re-membering its Christian Education program, and has turned again to Seasons of the Spirit and Whole People of God.
>> Read the full letter on the FUSION blog