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65http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2011/09/Rabbi-Lyon%27s-Blog---09_16_2011
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 09_16_2011
09/15/2011 10:45 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
September 16, 2011

We’re getting close to that time of year when we arrive at Temple early to get a good parking spot and the best seat for services. For most of us it’s a familiar time of year that’s filled with great expectations for beautiful music, meaningful messages, and personal contemplation. For some of you it’s also the most confounding time of year. Separate from every other day of the year, you suddenly find yourself compelled to attend worship; Compelled, because it still feels foreign to you even after all these years. Why?

                Among the reasons is the simple fact that praying to or with God is not necessarily consistent with your ideas about faith, in general, and Judaism, in particular. So, before you arrive, let me suggest that it’s time to revisit your image of God in your life.

                I want you to read my book, “God of Me: Imagining God throughout Your Lifetime” ( www.JewishLights.com , 2011). It’s not about me; it’s about you and your relationship with One larger than you. If you’re seeking God who hears you, lives with you, honors you, and strengthens you, then there’s a reason for taking time before the High Holidays to prepare. The dormant God image from childhood isn’t going to satisfy you as an adult. Your needs for faith and hope are much larger than they were years ago.

                To begin, you have to imagine that God is everywhere. In the familiar Torah story about the Burning Bush, God appeared to Moses from the midst of a bush that burned unconsumed. It was an unusual sight. The rabbis-of-old posed the question, “Why did God appear to him from a thorn bush? Why not something more beautiful like a sycamore tree?” They taught, “If God could appear in a lowly thing, then God could surely appear anywhere, including something spectacular” (p.13). It applies to physical locales like the beautiful mountains and personal moments with your families. It also applies to times when you feel blessed or grateful, and when you’re feeling lonely or abandoned. God is there.

                In Judaism, God is not found. God is sought (p109). It’s a covenant that finds us seeking and needing one another. It’s also a covenant that is never broken; more often it is only in need of some repair. Like coming before a parent, God loves unconditionally. Now, at this time of year, we all come as far forward as we can, and God comes the rest of the way. Yes, we can encounter God anywhere. And, on the High Holidays, you and I encounter God in the congregational setting where shared wants, needs, hopes and ideals are expressed in liturgy and song. It’s the most unique hour of the year and it welcomes us all to turn what is unfamiliar into that which is more special than anything else we have known.

                The High Holidays give you room to reach with your heart and our hands to be more and to do more. Now, God of YOU is part of the plan that helps you find within yourself what you were created with from birth --- strength, gifts, talents, courage, faith and hope.

                From my family to yours, Shabbat Shalom.

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