Mudhouse Sabbath

book jacket Awhile ago, I posted a very long list of books that I hope to consume this year.  I am surprised that no one was brave enough to comment that I was  enthusiastic but a bit insane.

My friend Karen spoke some words to me before Easter that continue to resonate with me.  She was recounting to me about Jesus’ triumphant entry and how He is described as being a “gentle King”.  She asked me if I see Jesus as gentle and did I believe that He treats me gently?  When I responded that I did believe that Jesus was indeed gentle and treated me this way as well.  She asked me if I could treat myself gently as well.  I must say…this was more of a challenge.  I tend towards perfection and sometimes in my enthusiasm, I will be critical of myself if I don’t complete the task with the same gusto that birthed the vision.  With that preface, I am not discounting my wish list of books to read but instead I will from time to time let you know about what books I am currently reading and some of my thoughts.  I would love to know what you are reading so feel free to add a comment.

This is so like me…the book that I have just finished is not even on my 2007 list.  Mudhouse Sabbath is the second book by Lauren Winner…her first book Girl Meets God did make my list. 

Lauren Winner converted from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity.  Mudhouse Sabbath is a small book that describes how she is making the transition from the practices and teachings of Judaism to Christianity.  She looks at eleven spiritual practices and compares the two faith walks. 

I decided to read this book before its predecessor because I thought that it would help me with some of the Jewish terminology that I am only vaguely familiar.  The eleven chapters or practices are: sabbath, fitting food, mourning, hospitality, prayer, body, fasting, aging, candle-lighting, weddings and doorposts. 

I really enjoyed learning more about the practices in Judaism and there were areas that I wouldn’t mind adopting into my life such as intently observing the sabbath…maybe not the extent that is explained in the book but in terms of ceasing from so much activity during a period of time…I guess, no one is stopping me but me!  I loved that there is room given for people that are in mourning…that the community doesn’t go back to business as usual only days after a loved one dies…there is an understanding of the slowing down the pace of life for those that are grieving.  The last chapter speaks to doorposts or “mezuzah” which is a small piece of parchment that is inscribed with Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11: 13-21.  The parchment is rolled up in a container and affixed to the door frame.  This mezuzah makes the statement that a person of the Jewish faith resides in that particular home.  I smiled when I read this part because I have a plaque that my friend Cheryl gave me for Christmas that says THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD BE UPON YOU (Psalm 129:8)
which hangs over the frame of the first door you see as you enter our home…knowing that I believe the same scriptures that are written in the mezuzah!

All in all, I learned more about Judaism and I know that there is a big part of me that loves tradition and I miss some of the tradition that I grew up in going to a denominational church…I guess all of us must reconcile our histories with our current walk to see what remains and what can be released…practices are important but relationship is paramount! 

“Hear, O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
                                            Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

                                      

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