I am walking in a church yard. The large yard and white church have an "episcopal" feel to me. I am in a wedding dress, carrying a long-stemmed bouquet. I delight in the yard's many trees full of their white, yellow-green, and pink spring blooms. An image of a curly, gnarly tree limb flashes in my mind as an appropriate bouquet, but I think, "A dead twig? That wouldn't work." I look down the slope behind the church; in a small grove of cherry trees several young men and women are playing together like children, throwing blooms at each other, laughing, roughhousing. They are my bridesmaids and groomsmen, and are also dressed for the wedding. I smile, enjoying their merriment, and look up the slope and further into the distance. I watch the wind blow showers of pink blossoms down the slope, trees in the midst of their spring-to-summer transformation, the death of the blossoms and the birth of the fruit, the leaves...it is the end of the season, after all...death and life, dying and living...I am happy, deeply content, complete. I feel the wind and listen to it throwing blooms along with the others. I have a quiet smile on my face; I feel peaceful and happy. At rest. It is complete. It is finished? Where is my groom? I walk with the bridal party back to another church, the church where my wedding will take place. I enjoy the sound and the feel of the blooms and grass crunching softly under my feet. I look down; my dress is a faint rose color, my shoes are black - this strikes me as a very appropriate choice. When I enter the church, I learn that my husband-to-be is dead. I receive the news as right, appropriate, not macabre. He is dead, but he is still with me, in a new way. My smile, my faith, and my contentment do not waiver. I understand.
Passover celebrates the Israelites' freedom from enslavement in Egypt. Shavuot, the Jewish Pentecost, celebrates Yahweh's giving of the Torah to the Israelites at Mount Sinai not long after their release from Egypt. The Jewish Virtual Library says, "Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavuot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality." From these events emerged Christian Pentecost, which celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Christ and marks the beginning of a new way to know and worship God. These holidays might be seen as:
Passover: freedom to worship Yahweh
Shavuot: how to worship Yahweh
Christian Pentecost: freedom to know and worship God in a new way,
life from death, new communion with God
Does my dream foreshadow a transformation in my own communion with God? Regarding Shavuot, the Jewish Virtual Library says: "It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather than the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that we are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah, that we receive it every day, but it was first given at this time." My knowledge of God, not only cognitive understanding but also the ways I experience him in my bones, in my soul, in my senses - and the ways in which I sense only his absence - is continuously evolving, always in creation. It looks like we have entered a new season of life together. It is time to celebrate.
This month's Synchroblog topic is "FAITH, FEASTS AND FORESHADOWING:
"The Jewish festival of Shavuot (or Pentecost) is a celebration of the giving of Torah....The Christian feast of Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles in the book of Acts, ushering in the beginning of the church....For the June synchroblog we invite you to reflect on the foreshadowing that the Jewish celebration of Shavuot brings to the Christian feast of Pentecost. How does the Torah foreshadow the Holy Spirit? What can we learn from our forefathers that will enrich our faith? What are the parallels? What are the differences? These are some (but definitely not all) of the questions that might be explored in this synchroblog."
Here are the other participants' responses. Please consider joining us in July!
Kerri at Earth’s Crammed With Heaven… – Transformation
Sarita Brown at Gypsy Queen Journals – Pentecost: A Poem
Jeremy Myers at Till He Comes - The Incarnation of the Temple, Torah, and Land
Tammy Carter at Blessing the Beloved - Random Biblical Calendar Thoughts, Unity & Love
K. W. Leslie at More Christ – Pentecost
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – We Cannot Capture The Wind
Emma Nadine at Life by List - An Outpouring of the Spirit
Marta Layton at Marta’s Mathoms - Shadow of Things to Come?
Abbie Waters at No Longer “Not Your Grandfather’s CPA” - Spiritual Gifts
Bill Sahlman at Creative Reflections - A “Wild Goose” Festival at Pentecost
Earth, Wind and Fire