- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On January 4, 2019
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat
The past Wednesday night, I participated in the Inaugural Interfaith Service of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, an invitation-only service at Morningstar Baptist Church in Mattapan. It was my honor to be asked, and to offer the closing remarks, which I share with you.
In this place of holiness, a moment of between, from what was to what will be, we prepare to go forward, but not just yet.
Let us consider how we, in this magnificent moment of faith, celebrate leadership even as we demonstrate it ourselves.
We can learn from a shared story in our faith traditions about the prophet Moses, who, saved from mortal danger, grew up in the palace only to discover that his life was with the people and the divine moving among them and with them. He was in that moment of between, from what was to what could be.
There in the wilderness, tending his father-in-law’s sheep, Moses, our teacher, peace be upon him, realized that one young lamb had wondered off. Following it, he saw how it stopped at a shady place with water and began to quench its thirst.
And Moses, how did he respond?
He could have been angry or frustrated, but instead he offered these words:
I didn’t know that you ran away because of thirst. You must be weary.
So he placed the lamb upon his shoulders and carried it back to the gathering of sheep. (Exodus Rabbah 2:2-3)
Who among us knows the life of shepherd? For in fact, shepherds can’t stand in front and call their herds to follow. “Come sheep! Follow me! It never works.
I learned how to be a shepherd once in the land of Israel. And though I decided to stick to my calling as a rabbi, I witnessed how shepherds must pay attention to their flock, how it is not easy unless you herd them from among them. And like Moses, the tender loving care, is what matters. And determines leadership.
Now clergy are often likened to shepherds, metaphorically, of course, and in the image of the ultimate Shepherd on high.
On this day, and at this moment of between of what was, is, and can be, are we not all shepherds and sheep at the same time? Leaders and followers, doers and helpers, responsible to pay attention and to offer loving kindness—Every single one of us—even among those who wonder off or quench their thirst in other rivers and waterways? For Moses he demonstrated that the fate of even the smallest sheep counts and for us, too, every person matters.
Here in this moment, in this place where the sacred meets us and we encounter the divine in the faces of one another, we recapture our sacred responsibility to ensure
the common wealth of the richness of our democracy,
the common health of how we nurture one another and
our common selves of a shared humanity breathed into us as a sacred gift.
Holy One of Blessing, Your Presence fills all creation
Be our shepherd as we shepherd one another.
Guide our leaders, Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito.
Let us hold them responsible in the same way we hold our own selves accountable for all that can be and will be and must be as we move into the future together.
Let us say: Amen
We gather tonight for a beautiful Qabbalat Shabbat, services begin at 6:00 p.m. If you cannot join us, please live stream here.
Tomorrow Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m with a short service followed by an engaging discussion and Kiddush.
I appreciate your thoughts and reflections, please connect with me directly here.