A tale of Sukkos past

 

If you are a Jew, you can skip to the second paragraph.  For the goyim (gentiles) reading this, Sukkos (or Sukkot) is a Jewish Holy Festival where we build and then take our meals in a temporary sukka (or booth) in obedience to the command of G-d in Leviticus 23.  We do this to remember how our ancestors lived in temporary booths in the years following the Egyptian captivity.  You’ll find it mentioned in the Christian scriptures in John 7 as the “Feast of Tabernacles.”  On 15 Tishrei (late September/early October) we start the seven-day festival.  With your introduction to Judaism freshly learned, you may be able to appreciate the brief tale that follows.

I have a funny, if not somewhat sad tale of my first Sukkos away from home. I was a freshman at Rutgers University. I went to the Newark campus which was for commuters only.  Newark, NJ, like many big cities, is mostly paved. A few Jewish students and I tried to erect a sukka in the Rutgers quadrangle without the benefit of soil to stake it in or trees to tie it to. As fate would have it, Sukkos started on a very windy day so our sukka did not survive. I have to wonder if G-d looked down and said, “what schmucks, they don’t even plan to build a proper sukka,” or if He said, “such faith and commitment these kids have, believing that an untethered sukka could stand on a windy day.”

I am looking forward to finding out which of these He said.

What is love?

Love is a willingness to lose anything for someone who means everything while expecting nothing.

That is the love that scores the greatest dramas and the mightiest epics. We sing songs of that love and write poems about that love. Every time that someone dies for that kind of love, a little bit of evil dies too. That is how Christ loves us. That is how we should love each other.

Lessons from Acts Chapters 27 and 28

Pastor Don Sharpe of my church, Grace Community Church of Kingsville, MD, preached a message entitled “Rome at Last.”  It addressed the practical applications we can draw from learning about the Apostle Paul’s journey to Rome as accounted for in Acts chapters 27 and 28.  Here are some of the high points:

  • We are to trust God to work, even when the circumstances seem impossible.
  • The Gospel mission requires trusting God can work in any situation He places us in.
  • Just when Paul needed encouragement the most, God provided it.
  • Paul was a testimony to those around him by trusting God in times of great struggle. That sort of conduct is what draws others toward God.
  • Sometimes, in difficult circumstances, we can forget that our lives and circumstances are in God’s hands.
  • God doesn’t always work in the ways we expect.
  • If we are to fulfill our place in the Gospel mission we must trust that God is at work all around us in all circumstances.