What a rich gathering we had last night. Everything from our coffee and dessert community time, to raising our hands in worship as we sang Let it Rise, to hearing from each other about the struggle and the beauty of practicing Sabbath, to learning about Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) from Rabbi Evan Moffic felt full and deep and beautiful.
The Rabbi’s teaching about Sabbath was thoughtful, winsome, and practical. I loved hearing about the Jewish teachings and traditions that Jesus would have learned as a boy (and many that came later). I wonder if Joseph or Mary ever blessed Jesus with the beautiful Jewish blessings Rabbi Moffic taught us.
Some things that stood out to me as Rabbi Moffic spoke:
- Sometimes you have to practice something before you truly understand its full depth and beauty;
- Sabbath is and has always been countercultural;
- Do things on the Sabbath that make that day different, set apart, and sacred; and
- Sabbath allows for community building.
These teachings reinforce what we have been learning all month in many ways. We have come to learn that Sabbath is a sacred gift from our good God. It is not an obligation or requirement that we are saddled with and must comply with to make ourselves holy or acceptable. Sabbath is a day on which can rest from our creating, generating, producing, consuming. How refreshing! And, as Rabbi Moffic said, most rabbis would tell you that the most important holiday in Judaism is Sabbath and what makes it so special is that it occurs every week.
Rabbi Moffic then shared these traditional and simple Sabbath practices with us:
- (1) Lighting a candle to usher in the Sabbath and then lighting a candle to signify the end of Sabbath.
- (2) Sabbath meal blessing. The blessing said over the Shabbat bread, challah, is: Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
- (3) Blessing children and one another. May Adonai bless you and guard you. May Adonai’s face shine on you and be gracious unto you. May Adonai’s face smile at you and grant you peace.
I love the blessings. They bring a sacredness and intentionality to this time of rest. I can’t wait to incorporate them into my practice this coming Sabbath.
Let’s keep practicing in this countercultural rest and see what kind of depth and beauty we discover…
Grace and rest,