Guest Post by Roberta Updegraff
I closed my eyes and listened to Psalm 23 in Hebrew. Although I couldn’t understand the words of the Kaddish, I felt love in that prayer of mourning for our friend. I listened to the rabbi share the ancient story of our faith illuminated in their stained glass windows. He explained that our grieving was lightened by this joyous holiday, the Jewish Pentecost.
Shavous commemorates God’s promise to provide for his people throughout eternity, the giving of the Law—The Ten Commandments. I had never made the connection before–pente and fifty–fifty days after Passover and fifty days past Good Friday.
On Sunday morning, our altar was bedecked in red geraniums, banners proclaimed in tongues of flame, and stained glass windows streamed rainbows. Grief was crucified once and for all on a cross at Passover. Jesus gifted his people with one all-encompassing commandment; love God with all your heart, soul and mind. I drank from new wineskins that morning, and bowed my head in awe.
“Thank you, Jesus, for this gift of everlasting life in Community. And thank you for new wineskins—the youngest adults in our midst. Equip them to be the leaders you need. And empower us through prayer and finances to make that happen.”
She is an Ambassador for the Special Offerings Program of the PC(USA)
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