Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Earlier this winter, we scheduled our cathedral's rabbi-in-residence, Mark Shapiro, to speak at our February Diocesan Clergy Day. Rabbi Shapiro was asked to speak about Sabbath-keeping.

Unfortunately we got snowed out and had to reschedule the event to today, on short notice and in the middle of Lent. We knew this would pose a real challenge for parochial clergy to come out for this make-up, but those of us who were able to do so gathered this morning at St. Mark's in East Longmeadow. We were truly blessed.

As readers of this blog know, I will be taking a three-month Sabbatical beginning on April 1. Sabbatical, of course, shares the same root as Sabbath, so my hearing was particularly keen today. Another rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel, once said about Sabbath, that " is a day on which we are called to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world...the seventh day rights our balance and restores our perspective. it is like a palace in time with a kingdom for all. It is not a date, but an atmosphere."

Here are some other gems that Rabbi Shapiro shared with us today:

A Day
There is a day
when the road neither
comes nor goes, and the way
is not a way but a place. 
(Wendell Berry)

Imagine not that life is all doing
Stillness, too, is life;
And in that stillness
The mind cluttered with busyness quiets,
The heart racing to win rests,
And we hear the whispered truths of God. 
(Rami Shapiro)

Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little, 
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I'm traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple. 
(Mary Oliver)

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