Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
The Jews established and accepted as a custom for themselves and their descendants and all who joined them, that without fail they would continue to observe these two days every year, as it was written and at the time appointed. (Esther 9:27)
At the end of the story of Esther is this passage that describes the beginning of the practice of the Feast of Purim, a traditional meal in Jewish custom that remembers when the Jews gained relief from their enemies. Traditions like this run deep in communal life. It never takes long for any community, no matter how large or small, to establish a tradition. As some have said, “Do it once for excitement, twice for nostalgia, and three times if you want it to be a tradition.” Over time, the Jewish practice of Purim has built its own memories, with older generations explaining to younger generations how they did it when they were a kid. In that sense, traditions become very powerful experiences of memory that are irreplaceable.
Last Friday my wife Denise and I went up to the neighborhood school. It was our oldest daughter’s last day in elementary. There was a presentation that included songs and the presentation of awards with applause and all of that, and then came the tradition. All of the parents went to the front of the school to form two lines for the “graduating” class to walk through after they had paraded down each hall of the school. We didn’t need any instruction for it. We just kind of knew to do it. It was tradition after all. We watched the kids walk out through tears and smiles and conversations about how we remember what we did on our own last day. It was a moment that pointed me yet again to the presence of a communal God who binds us all together through time and tradition. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Published on 06/06/2016 @ 9:26 PM CDT