Lent at St. Ben's, 2013

(Also see the Lenten reading/study program described on the Hollister Institute web page.)

Taizé with Trinity
Sunday, February 24, 7 pm at Trinity Methodist Church

cross of candles

End your week with a contemplative service of readings, chanting and silence. From time to time St Ben's will be joining with Trinity United Methodist for occasional services based on the worship of the ecumenical Taizé community in France. The first of these will be on the second Sunday of Lent, February 24 at 7pm at Trinity (corner of LOVR and Pine.) Please consider taking the time to sink into quietness of Spirit in this gentle worship service.

Passover Seder
Thursday, March 21, beginning at 5:30 pm

seder plate

Who are you? Where are you from?

The Hollister Institute and the Education For Ministry class at St. Benedict’s invite you to our annual Passover Seder. We are holding the Seder a few nights before Passover begins because of its concurrence with Holy Week this year.

The Seder is a traditional, Jewish meal of remembrance. It is a time when all are welcome at the family table. Many stories are told about who we are and where we come from, with a specific emphasis on release from slavery. The story of the Exodus is told, but other forms of slavery are recalled as well. Slavery is not just bondage in the past, but any oppression. The hardest part of slavery may be our acceptance of it, whether in this world or in our own lives. Those who act to end oppression often find they are driven by love. The Seder meal is about love.

The first love is for one another. Human love is a divine gift, given by the One who made us in God’s image. Devekut, clinging, which is used to speak of the great relation one can have to God, is first used in the Bible to describe the relation of a man and woman. The Seder dinner reminds us of our worth as human beings.

The second love is family love, or home love. Freedom from slavery, whether actual or metaphorical, lets us go home. The Seder is a celebration of coming home and a cry for homecoming for those not there yet.

The third kind of love is love of God. The Exodus is the story of going to Sinai, which Jewish sages compared to a huppah, a wedding canopy, and the Torah is the ketubah, the marriage covenant. Passover reminds us that at the heart of Judaism is the deep yearning of God and human beings for one another.

Passover celebrates love. It is love deep, passionate, purposeful and true. Hearing about crossing the Red Sea is an invitation to each one of us to experience rebirth. Passover is a spring festival, and the blossoming renewal of the world can also mean a reawakening of the human heart.

If you would like to come, please email Lorienne Schwenk at singingkitchen@gmail.com or call 805.200.7908. Food will be provided and a free-will offering is accepted to defray costs of food. The food will be traditional Jewish Seder foods from around the world. No chametz! Children are especially welcome.

with thanks to Rabbi David Wolpe for his thoughts on Passover