I’m struck that we are in the midst of Hanukkah, the eight day feast of lights and expectation of the Jewish tradition. This week I got an email flash from Western Friends Magazine entitled something like ‘Are Quakers Christian?” My immediate response was “that’s not close to the real issue.” That’s not the essential question to be asking. What matters most is that each of us follow our own lead, deeply and truly, to it’s end. That each of us become aware and receptive to the peculiar language of “Spirit” as it addresses and provokes us individually. I am, I suppose, best labeled a “Christian Quaker”, but without rigid boundaries (I trust). I continue to learn from a variety of godly and ungodly sources. Our family has a long history of celebrating Passover and a sporadic, playful history of Hanukkah, the magic of a tiny bit of oil that does not run out. “Religion” ought always invite play and wonder and not cripple it. As has been said, “”The surest sign of the presence of the Spirit is Joy.” (Read that again!)
Enjoy the attached simple Hanukkah poem. At the end, I added one of my own from now years ago. Light some candles, and dream a large and expectant, extravagant dream.
Blessed Advent and Hanukkah and Merry Christ-mass . . . or if you wish, a so called Ordinary Winter’s Day. (But . . . if our eyes are open, we cannot help but be enthroned.)
Grace and Peace
Light the Festive Candles
Light the first of eight tonight—
the farthest candle to the right.
Light the first and second, too,
when tomorrow’s day is through.
Then light three, and then light four—
every dusk one candle more
Till all eight burn bright and high,
honoring a day gone by
When the Temple was restored,
rescued from the Syrian lord,
And an eight-day feast proclaimed—
The Festival of Lights—well named
To celebrate the joyous day
when we regained the right to pray
to our one God in our own way
St. Luther in a wise
and sober moment
looking beyond the given
to the underlying
wonder, said we all ought
be as Mary giving
birth to God, taking
the Infinite out
of safe and sterile
distance to be received
‘round us and within,
beholding the eternal mystery
of the eternal womb.