Aish tamid tukad al hamizbayach; lo tichbeh (sung)
I think there is a beautiful synergy for us to arrive at this moment of ordination, on this particular weekend, at the start of a week which is holy to so many. Today is Shabbat HaGadol, The Great Sabbath before Passover and tomorrow is Palm Sunday. On this day Jews read of the installation of Aaron, as the High Priest of the Israelites. And tomorrow, Christians remember the jubilant arrival of the rabbi Yehoshuah into the Holy City. What does it mean for me, as I am ordained today, to be instructed as Aaron was:
אֵ֗שׁ תָּמִ֛יד תּוּקַ֥ד עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֖חַ לֹ֥א תִכְבֶּֽה
A continuous fire shall burn upon the altar; it shall not go out
What is the fire which I need to keep burning, as I step into my Calling? What is the flame that I commit to carrying into this next phase of life’s journey?
I received an important lesson during the AIDS epidemic – when my friend Tim said “Don’t treat me like I am dying from AIDS – I am living WITH it! You could be hit by a truck leaving this apartment. I just know I am going to die; but in the meantime, I am LIVING.” I learned about the fire which is the passion for life, from Tim and others, whose flames burned too short a time – and I commit to tending that flame in all those I serve; may we cherish each moment we are given.
One spark of my fire, (that I almost let burn out), was my creative spirit. Just as arthritis and fibromyalgia have limited my body, I allowed the workaday world to limit my spirit; and over time I allowed many of my passions – acting, singing, crafting – to be extinguished. My time here at ChI, in Arts for Awakening particularly, has breathed new life into the fire that once flowed through my creative spirit. I commit to kindle that spark of creativity, that it might inspire me and others, as we co-create the world we want.
And finally, in journeying through life with a trans husband and gender fluid child, I have learned that none of us are either/or but Both/AND; our flames dance in multiple hues. The divine light and luminous dark of holy fire, that which we name Wonder and Awe, calls us to be our truest selves. But it also calls us to witness the pain and brokenness within many who our lives touch. I commit to shining my light on the ways our society is missing the mark; and to nurture the luminous dark, which calls each of us to embrace our deepest and highest selves.