An open tent

“To you who wakens all who sleep and stirs all those who slumber, who gives speech to those who cannot speak, who frees the captive and upholds the falling, who makes upright those bent down – to you alone we offer thanks.”

This morning there are songs and chants of praise in our sanctuary.  Little Minyan is a Reconstructionist Jewish community that uses our building to celebrate their high holy days, today observing Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish year.  A minyan refers to the quorum of Jewish worshipers needed to carry out certain religious obligations.  Reconstructionist Jews are theologically and socially progressive while valuing traditional liturgy.  The above prayer is one of those recited today from “Prayerbook for the Days of Awe.”

I was able to experience the opening half hour of the service.  The cantor began with a brief meditation on the prophet Balaam who had been hired to curse the people of Israel, but who, when he saw that their tents were open and facing each other, chose instead to utter a blessing.  She invited the congregation to enter the new year grateful for the safety of their tents, but with their tents open to one another, being willing to expand their tents to hold all of the differences of our global neighbors.

Often when I meet with other groups or pastors throughout Columbus someone will comment that they have been in our building for a gathering of an organization with which they have been affiliated.  Our building is actively used throughout the week and it is one of our ways of keeping our tent open and welcoming to our Columbus neighbors.

May your home and your life also remain open as a blessing to those the Holy One will bring your way.