In many ways Pesach has been delightful. With the change in diet, the Seders and the awesome emergence of spring, I feel both renewed and challenged. Our celebration has been dampened by the horrific tragedy of attacks on the Churches and other places in Sri Lanka. For many Christians, the meaning of Easter has been affected and amplified. Jesus, as the Paschal sacrifice, has multiplied over 300 times. We are all witnessing daily assaults on life itself. A common theme at many Seders this year concerned the threats to democracy here and abroad. A pharaonic reality is addressing us. How do we respond?
Increasingly, whenever I go into the Poolesville Hardware store to pick up something for Sanctuary, the owner engages me in a conversation about life and politics. Sometimes he introduces me as his "rabbi" to other customers. This past week, on Easter Monday, he asked me if I believed in the Resurrection of Jesus. I shared that I actually do believe in the idea. In our prayers we have the concept of M'chayeh Meytim, giving life to the dead. We see it in nature every spring. There are biblical stories about Elijah and Elisha reviving children. I shared with John, the owner, that I believed in the account of Jesus' resurrection but that it can, also, be understood as metaphor.
A few minutes later a customer approached me and asked what the letters said on my red Nationals cap. I said it was Hebrew for Nationals, נשונאלס. He asked "Are you Jewish." "Yes," I answered. He then announced that he was Jewish, too! I asked what he meant by that and we got into a delicate conversation. He felt, that as a Christian, he was also, Jewish. Realizing the time, we had to cut short the dialogue.
We need more of these conversations. People want and need to build relationships of understanding.
Try to come to the Freedom Seder this Saturday evening at Cedar Lane. Rev Abhi and I have woven together a Haggadah that opens up the doors for the Elijah within each and every one of us. No problem if you just show up. "Let all those who are hungry (for healing and Tikkun) come and eat."
This Friday evening begins the last day of yontif. It is customary to light Yiskor candles for our loved ones.