Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5770

Gal wrote a wonderful piece here.

The High Holy Days are just behind us and, as always, she writes eloquently about motherhood, faith, disjunction, and loss. You should read her piece in its entirety. But here, this, from the prayerbook at her Yom Kippur services, I have to repeat:

This is the vision of a great and noble life:
To endure ambiguity and to make light shine through it;
To stand fast in uncertainty;
To prove capable of unlimited love and hope.


And as long as we are looking at faith and loss, Karen Gerstenberger also has a terrific post, here, in which numerous parallels between her experience and mine are apparent, particularly our difficulties in returning to home churches with their memories and our finding refuge in Catholic masses.

I can't say that the Catholics have a more developed theology of suffering than do the Presbyterians, but they certainly have, at least in my admittedly limited experience, a more developed daily expression of the continuum from catastrophe to restoration.

I am fascinated by how many of us find our faith homes disconcerting at best after such shattering losses, and how easily we now move into the ambiguities between distinct religious spaces.

Jewish. Protestant. Catholic. The longing for language to reflect the realities of dislocation, suffering, hope, and renewal ~ the same. The desire to mark our experiences as holy and locate them within a sacred tradition ~ the same. The losses ~ the same.

7 comments:

karen gerstenberger said...

Yes, and thank you for posting those words from the Yom Kippur service. Oh, dear God, how they speak of my heart's desire! XO

Karen and Joe said...

"I am fascinated by how many of us find our faith homes disconcerting at best after such shattering losses, and how easily we now move into the ambiguities between distinct religious spaces."

Me too.

Mompriest said...

I'm going on a silent retreat in a couple of weeks. I'm taking with me Joan Chittister's, "Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope." I've read it before but have no idea if it will be useful as I move through my recent congregational tragedy. Still, I agree, the Catholics offer a way to move through suffering and despair to hope.

August said...

That quote is just beautiful. I must have passed it along to at least 6 people already today. Thanks for sharing!

Carol said...

I thought of you, Robin, when I read Gal's post. So apropos of so much of your expressed struggles these past 13 months.
Those passages alone make me sorry to have missed my congregation's afternoon and memorial services.

Mary Beth said...

As ever...I am here.

Lisa :-] said...

For me, there was no sacred tradition (with which I was familiar) that could encompass the loss.