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Personal Reflection: Unexpected Sacred Senses


Aimee Bostwick

Last Sunday, on a whim, I decided to attend a panel discussion entitled “Jewish Wit,  Jewish Wisdom and Jewish Women.” Lisa Loeb was set to be part of the panel discussion along with Rabbi Susan Silverman and Hadassah Lieberman. To be honest, Lisa was the biggest draw for me.  Her music has always been some of my favorite, not to mention that her eye wear has always been spot on!

As I sat there in this beautiful synagogue, she took the stage.  Within just a few measures of her first song, a flood of feelings and memories washed over me.  Suddenly it was 1994 – my son Hunter had just been born, and the movie Reality Bites was a huge hit.  Granted, the emotions which were conjured up were a mixed bag, as it was an emotional time. Life was changing rapidly and the church proved to be my anchor.  So many feelings began to manifest themselves through the sound of her voice.  Even still, a sense of contentment and a knowing that I was exactly where I should be settled within me.

The moderator, CNN’s Dana Bash, asked a poignant question about connection to Jewish tradition in a culture that doesn’t seem to encourage such connection.  In her answer, Lisa mentioned the importance of intent.  The intention of participating, not only by showing up for synagogue but also in daily life through studying, reading, and learning.  She went on to explain that during difficult times, intention becomes even more important.  She encouraged engaging in your faith in more practical ways. Then she said something that hooked me-  she offered a simple suggestion of baking. Pull out that cookie recipe that has been passed down through many generations, and make your intention something you can experience- taste, smell, see.

I immediately thought of walking into our church that morning with the smell of cinnamon throughout the building.  Thanks to the faithful cooking of the Men’s Breakfast Team, once the scent of cinnamon hit me, I was filled with warmth and wonder.

Isn’t that true?  Smelling something takes us back to that exact moment where we experienced nurture or joy.  Hearing a song conjures up memories, both good and bad, and then leads to a remembrance of those who helped you through difficulty or of a community that embraced you. Our senses are sacred and connect us to the holy.  They connect us to God.

This Lent, join us for our formation series “Sacred Senses”.  Through a variety of speakers and reflections we will connect with the holy in new ways. We hope that this will lead to an experience of Lent in a sacred way.

May I end by inviting “you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent…”  Let the singing, smelling, seeing, feeling, experiencing of the Holy begin!

Categories: Parish News Blog