Sacred Seasons Overlap and Create Space for Renewing Our Narratives
This year Passover and Holy Week overlap. These days are sacred to Christians and Jews. They offer many touch points of tradition and ritual — whether it’s the Seder meal on the first night of Passover, which more than 70 percent of Jews celebrate, or Good Friday, when so many Christians make their way to church to mourn and celebrate Jesus’ crucifixion, and look forward to His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
For me, these two holidays create a bit of a forced reckoning, a needed respite from life’s chaos. My wife and I have one son who attends a preschool at a Jewish community center and another son who attends a Catholic grade school. They both have the week off. At first, it’s a bit of logistical nightmare. (Parents and grandparents, you know what I’m talking about…)
Both of our work lives take a frenzied turn. We worry. We reschedule. We fret about not getting things done. And then we settle in. We stay home. We hang together. We get reacquainted. We do activities. We express our gratitude for each other, in words and in presence. We recommit to each other.
During this season, I’ll be listening to two wise voices: Avivah Zornberg and John Lewis. They remind us that our narratives are the stories of our ancestors lived forward. They tell us that history isn’t something merely to be memorized, but that these cargo of hidden stories come alive when they are made anew and transcend time. As Ms. Zornberg told Krista:
“It’s not telling the story so as to remember what happened. It happened so as to be the stimulus for a good story, for a meaningful story. And the stories will develop and change through time. And perhaps, in the end, you might find yourself telling a better story than what is actually written in the text. So long as there is some connection.”
This is best followed up with these flowing words from Jean Vanier’s Finding Peace:
“Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice. But to grow in love requires work — hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss — loss of the certitudes, comforts, and hurts that shelter and define us.”
“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
“Sabbath, in the first instance, is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh, the refusal to let one’s life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of private well-being.”
“Make a place to sit down. Sit down. Be quiet. You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill — more of each than you have — inspiration, work, growing older, patience, for patience joins time to eternity.”
You can listen to Wendell Berry reading more of his poetry on our website. We’d love for you to share them with your friends and family!
One of the things I most admire about Krista’s presence on Twitter is her willingness to engage so many people. Take, for example, this fun series of questions from Quique Autrey (@qautrey):
@kristatippett Where did you learn to ask such good questions? Are you a “learner” on strength finders?
To which she responded:
I haven’t done strength finders, but I suspect I would be a learner…I’ve been asking questions for a living for a long time now.
Then Quique followed up with this question:
One more? What work were you referring to about de Chardin and the zest for life?
That was actually something he wrote in the midst of WWI – when he was a stretcher bearer. I’ll dig it up for you, more tomorrow.
And so she did…
Take a look at “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Writings Selected” by Ursula King. A good intro, including zest for life.
In other news, Joshua DuBois has a successor. You might remember that Krista interviewed Mr. DuBois in 2009 when he became director of President Obama’s White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He vacated his position in February, and as Krista notes, there’s high praise for the newly appointed director:
News I almost missed – the excellent Melissa Rogers is new head of White House faith-based office.
And, for you parents who have children in college, perhaps you’ll relate to this tweet by Krista:
A child home from college, and I fall back into the muscle memory rituals of parenting – so deeply exhausting and comforting all at once.
Last weekend, I had the great privilege of attending and scouting potential voices during Public Interest Design Week at the University of Minnesota. John Cary organized an energized group of speakers, including New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, architect and systems designer Liz Ogbu, and inventor William Kamkwamba. I characterized my experience to Krista this way:
RT @trentgilliss: The human penchant for learning + improving circumstances amazes me. Not just a will to survive, but to prosper + transcend.
There are so many hard-working people who truly are making a difference in this world. We are living in great times.