October 15th, 2023, Daily Practice: A Weekly Reminder

When we first entered into the pandemic shut-down, in March of 2020, we also entered into a shared daily practice to help ourselves stay connected to each other and to our religious lives. Over several months we began to consider skills that could help us, including cultivating inner nobility and steadiness, naming our fears and counting our blessings at the same time, and nurturing courage and trust within ourselves and between us. Later, we talked about “the art of embracing” as a practice of turning toward and moving toward what the world brings us — moving in that direction of with arms opened wide, as much as possible.

It has been three and a half years since we shut down and entered into pandemic living, and a little over a year since we finally returned to indoor Sunday services. There will never be a time when everything simply reverts to the way it was “before.” We are living in, and are part of, calamitous and fractious years in the human world. We worried in 2016, and then during the pandemic, and then the invasion of Ukraine, and now the horrible situation for Israelis and Palestinians. Horrors, and more horrors. For those of us dedicated to a practice of peace and justice making, there are constant opportunities to start over, to begin anew in a changed world, as always. The organizer /humanitarian / activist Valerie Kaur says this: “Our most powerful response to the horror in Israel and Palestine is to refuse to surrender our humanity. Opening our hearts to grief—others and our own—is how we hold our humanity in a world that would destroy it. It’s how we will begin to survive this.”

May our practice be dedicated to this – to maintaining and nurturing humanity, in all the ways we can. The question is, “What are you willing and able to move toward for the good of all?” Everything we have been practicing will help us. The way stretches before us, and we can only take one step at a time. There are blessings that live in the very act of reaching out. May we find the needed courage.