, , ,

Eight years ago July 4th fell on Shabbat, and I wrote my first weekly email to the members of the synagogue that I serve. At the time I didn’t know that I would continue the practice, week after week after week. But I did, from hotel rooms, hospital rooms, my own home and the homes of friends. South Korea, Israel, Germany, Scotland, a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. It adds up to a minimum of 416 emails, because some weeks I wrote twice. But I never, ever missed a Shabbat.

Every week for eight years seems like a lot – what is there to say? Lots, it turns out. As the days flow and the world spins on its axis and we slowly but inexorably age, we get to say something new, or a variation on something old, but we always have the opportunity to speak and to sing, week after week.

Psalm 96, which we read every Friday night, begins “Sing to God a new song, sing to God all the earth. Sing to God, bless God’s name and tell of God’s grace from day to day.” (translation mine)

Every day we get to sing a new song. Every day we are renewed, able to begin again. I am spending this holiday week on the beach and have watched the waves crest and crash and the tide come in and go out and come in again, always moving but never traveling. Science tells us that a wave is simply energy moving through the water and that the water itself is stationary. But our eyes and our bodies tell us something different, that the water is like a living thing, constantly moving, constantly renewing itself.

Many years ago I knew a couple who married on July 4th and instead of calling it Independence Day they called it Interdependence Day. I’ve always thought that was a better word for the holiday; although it originally celebrated our nation’s independence from England, every year that we observe the date it reminds us of how much we depend on one another, on our communities, on our governments.

May our communities, large and small, continue to be blessed by each other’s presence and by the Presence that guides us all.