beautiful monsters: Fasting, feasting, and faith

October 19, 2005

Fasting, feasting, and faith

Tonight I went along to the progressive Jewish temple for the first time. Kind of sad that it took me so long to get there, given that it’s just up the road from St Andy’s... There was an inter-faith event there tonight, and it was really amazing to be a part of.

At sunset we broke fast with dates, because it is the month of Ramadan, and there were members of the Muslim community present. Then we shared stories about what is going on in the different faith communities at this time of year, and I began to feel that Presbyterianism is rather lacking in festivals and feasts – we could borrow a few more from the Catholic tradition perhaps. I love having ritual foods, and really we only do the bread and wine, and at St Andrew's we borrow from other traditions a bit. We're probably lacking in literal fasting too, but I would find that part harder.

Anyway, it was a really interesting discussion, focussing on our commonalties. I only recently learned that Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths all share the books of Moses (what we call the old testament) – I thought it was ours! I'd never even heard the term "Abrahamic" before tonight. And I call myself a Sunday School teacher! Maybe I need to do some more study.

There was a visiting Rabbi from San Fransisco, and he explained a bit about Sukkot, and we all crowded into the Sukkah for the ceremony. The Sukkah was lovely, made with a roof of fern fronds, with streamers and painted decorations.

Then we had a shared meal, all beautiful vegetarian food, and a chance to mingle and chat with different people. I met the woman who does the children's programme at the temple, and now I am all excited about organising an interfaith event for children.

Finally we had a chance to see the Torah, which was pretty awe-inspiring – the amount of work that must go into it.

It was a beautiful evening, and really interesting, because I began to feel that we (at St Andrew’s) probably had more in common with people from the more liberal elements of other faith traditions than we do with most of the Christian community.

In the car on the way home I listened to one of Marcella Althaus Reid’s lectures on tape, and reminded myself that there are radical Christians out there, however scattered we may be.

Speaking of radical Christianity, I had a meeting over tapas with a woman from GalaXies, and we are going to organise an art installation at St Andrew’s. It will be up for the whole of advent, and we want lots of different groups to take part, so if you are interested then let me know.


Posted by Fionnaigh at October 19, 2005 10:52 PM | TrackBack