This week, Jews begin to move beyond the lowest point of the calendar, a period known as “The Three Weeks,” toward the new year. The Three Weeks focus on prophetic admonishment for our ethical failings, while the seven weeks that follow call for a renewed focus on a “path of justice.”
Nelson Mandela’s birthday, July 18, comes this year just at this point of turning. “Mandela Day,” too, encourages us to move beyond grief into healing action.
— posted in memory and honor of Jean Stapleton (1/19/1923 – 5/31/2013)
Yom Kippur Avodah Service, Fabrangen Havurah 5770
In honor of the U.N.’s International Day of Peace and Timbuk2’s call for customers to display what they carry in their bags, here is this week’s traveling library:
New Evangelical Manifesto: A Kingdom Vision for the Common Good. David P. Gushee, editor. Chalice Press, 2012.
Teshuva is a never-ending process because we are always changing and the context of our universe is always shifting….We need multiple opportunities for teshuva because our mistakes and errors change over time, and our circumstances are fluid.
— Erica Brown, Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe, 2012
I was sitting in the bathtub, counting my toes
When the radiator broke, water all froze
I got stuck in the ice without my clothes
Naked as the eyes of a clown
I was crying ice cubes, hoping I’d croak
When the sun come through the window,
the ice all broke
I stood up and laughed, thought it was a joke
That’s the way that the world goes ’round
— John Prine, “That’s the Way that the World Goes ‘Round” (details)
The “fluid” circumstances Erica Brown mentions undoubtedly bear no intentional relationship to John Prine’s bathwater. But Prine’s song and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe have something related to say about teshuva, and together they offer a fruitful approach to “recovering” ourselves in this penitential season.