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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

723 Each time we make progress toward bringing wholeness, something else shatters...

Day 723 Wednesday, March 9, 2022

The challenge is that each time we make progress toward bringing wholeness, something else shatters

(Ukranian father says farewell to his 5-year-old daughter)

Notes for next Sunday's Emmaus Celebration by Dan Vrooman and Nancy McFarland:

Dan: Some years ago, a now well-known African American by the name of Barack Obama was inspired by a luminous vision for his election campaign, coining a slogan that echoed throughout our nation and the world…..and allowed him to win! “We can change. Yes, we can!” or, in other words, we can draw energy from a reliable source within us, which permits us to turn what seems to be an irreversible condition of discontent into something new, different, shared.

I find that the possibility to modify, to renew, to transcend the “given” of our personal and community lives is the core of our experience of transfiguration, the discovery that what we call matter, reality, fact, body, or self are not just fixed identities but are expressions of the enormous flux of becoming in which everything is figured, disfigured, and refigured.

Reality is a flow in which we are immersed, empowered to forge and to develop our personal self, to become active in the unfolding of the invisible in our personal, social, and global body.

In Sunday's liturgy, Nancy and I desire to evoke some possibilities that may be considered favorable spaces for a transfiguration, in the mountains or in the deserts of our daily life, like an enlarging spiral of the divine that incarnates itself in the eternal restlessness of becoming.

Daily Reflection:

Holy One, Source of Strength,

War has begun, and innocent people are dying.

We ask Your protection for Ukraine and its citizens.

We pray for their safety and the security of the country,

and for the neighboring countries — Hungary, Poland, and Romania, among others —

that have opened their borders to provide humanitarian corridors

and safe passage for all those who wish to evacuate.

We seek the comfort of believing that everything will be all right,

even in the face of insurmountable odds.

With these words this past Friday night, the Williams College Jewish Association concluded its weekly Shabbat services at the Jewish Religious Center. Reciting this poem, written just days before by writer Joanne Fink, we brought the people of Ukraine and their struggle for freedom into our prayer space, and we offered a collective wish for their safety and security.

The situation in Ukraine is heartbreaking and terrifying. So many of us are distressed by the violence, wanton destruction, and targeting of civilians that is taking place. It is unfair and nearly unimaginable. For those of us with family and friends living through this nightmare, it can feel unbearable. Because after all, this is a war that the people of Ukraine did not ask for.

These times make me realize that in spite of all that we struggle within our country and in our community, there is much to be grateful for. But it also reminds me of our need to embody some of our highest values: generosity, empathy, solidarity, and hope.

In the story of the creation of the world as told by the mystics of the Lurianic kabbalistic tradition, God created a world that contains elements of brokenness.

The reason for that is so that each of us could bring healing to the parts of existence that need it. The challenge is that each time we make progress toward bringing wholeness, something else shatters, or the thing that we are attempting to heal causes more breakage.

But rather than get discouraged, this tradition teaches that we should continue to strive to bring about more healing. Even though it can feel that for every step forward, we take three steps back, we must keep trying to bring about change, wherever we find ourselves.

By chaplain Seth Wax

(Anna, 7, wears a rescue blanket and holds her doll while waiting alongside her mother)

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