Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back in Services

I attended and participated in services for the first time in about a month, yesterday. Where have I been? Working, photographing, marching, protesting, performing, and hanging out with music stars from Quebec. In other words, a lot has been going on. It was also a much-needed sabbatical. Notice the word "sabbatical" is very closely tied to "Sabbath." But I have really missed everyone, enjoyed meeting some new faces, and got a thrill out of picking up the drumsticks again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Missions Fest Missel

Yes, I know it is one month hence, but I wanted to write something about Missions Fest. I love attending Missions Fest and volunteering there with the congregation. It is one of our biggest outreach events of the year and a way of connecting with the Believing community in Edmonton. We always get a variety of people asking about who we are and what we do. Some people want to try to blow the shofar, or at least want to hear us blow it. I never try to play it. Bone is porous and there is no way of sterilizing it.

A couple of people asked about Jewish people in the congregation. One woman teared up at my presence and said, "Bless you." Another person, an older man, was rather incredulous. "A real Jewish girl?" "Yes. I am." Part of me was flattered; another part wondering what kind of sheltered lives some people lead if they have never met anyone Jewish before. Or maybe just the fact I am a Believing Jew makes me some sort of rare specimen.

I am thinking of getting involved with the Micah Challenge. It is an organization for Evangelical Christians and churches who want to do something about poverty and social justice around the world. There were also a few other ministries present that seemed a bit more progressive (at least, in relation to most Evangelical institutions). I gained hope.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Expressing The Sacred

A couple of months ago I was at a party, and was explaining to the gracious host why I practise certain things in the name of my faith. In particular, we were talking about keeping kosher. I said that it was my belief we live in a world where very little is held sacred anymore, so I felt an extra obligation to do something that connected me to my faith as a result.

She disagreed with part of my statement above. What is sacred to some people may have nothing to do with religion, but instead be a connection to the earth and its people. Protecting the environment, for example, and in doing so driving less and making other lifestyle choices.

I have to admit that one of the reasons I take part in peace marches is because I hold the value of peace to be sacred, and taking part in the marches connects me to that value as well as others who share it. At the same time, my values come as a direct result of my faith. We are supposed to protect the earth which He created and entrusted us with. Yeshua is the Prince of Peace, so working for peace brings us closer to Him.

Yet even those who profess no faith still hold certain things sacred. Perhaps they do have faith, but express it in different ways, outside of the Western concept of religion. Or perhaps G-d is trying to reach them, and this is how they are reaching back without even knowing it.