A LOVE FEAST, WANT TO JOIN? No, I am not talking about a lust love feast but a feast of thanksgiving for all we have been given.Such a love feast is best described by the Greek word agape. Originally meaning open wide and usually referring to a sense of amazement and awe, agape has also come to mean love of and from God. I believe love is the essence of the Creator by whatever name he or she or it is known. As the poet Edwin Arlington Robinson noted “If God be God, God be love.”
My favorite love feasts are expressions of joy and wonder, celebrating the gift of life and love which I believe to be the foundation of all creation. We celebrate the Jewish Shabbat every Friday night and I best love when we have family or friends joining us. One of the core commandments of Judaism is “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This commandment stands at the center of the central book in the Torah. The Talmudic sages Hillel and Rabbi Akiva indicated that this is the central commandment of the Torah and it became central to the teachings of Christianity. The commandment specifically states one must love “the stranger that dwelleth with you . . ..” Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for not offering hospitality to strangers, not for the lust sins many now believed caused its destruction.
One of the Shabbat traditions is that the Shabbat meal must be the best meal of the week. So I do put forth extra effort. The meat varies and might be chicken, brisket, pot roast, lamb chops or steak. The vegetables includes mashed potatoes except when corn on the cob is fresh, my special candied carrots–cooked in a maple syrup sauce, and cole slaw as my mother taught me to make. Sometimes we have a sweet noodle pudding, and always Challah (Braided Bread). I don’t make the Challah, keep saying I will, but have always found a bakery that seemed to eproduce home made withoutme doing the work–even here in Colorado.
Knowing that when I am lighting the Shabbat candles, thousands of others are lighting theirs with me part of theawe. The feeling grows when I remember women have been lighting Shabbat candles for over three thousand years while their husbands say the blessing over the children.
Topic #186: Describe a perfect meal. What will you eat? Who is there? Are you outside, or inside with a view? A view of what? It can be an imagined place and meal, or a real experience you want to have someday.