It was our good fortune to host Rabbi Mark Shapiro as a guest preacher yesterday. Rabbi Shapiro is the “Rabbi in Residence” at our Cathedral, and he both preaches and leads adult formation sessions at Churches around the Diocese.
In his sermon, Rabbi Shapiro noted that anti-Semitism is alive and well in our country and in our world. For those who need convincing, he offered a few personal experiences of anti-Semitism, including a relatively recent pair of threats to the Jewish Community Center in Longmeadow.
But Rabbi Shapiro also reminded us of how far we have come in the past few decades. Not so long ago, the idea of a Rabbi working at a Christian Cathedral or preaching in a Christian Church would have been virtually inconceivable. Now the presence of a Rabbi on Sunday morning brings folks in—yesterday was a good attendance day at St David’s! Rabbi Shapiro called this progress an “amazement.” He said that what we were doing yesterday morning was itself an “amazement.”
But his last point may have been most important of all. He said it is as if we have lit a candle of mutual respect and appreciation. But candle flames are fragile. Unless tended carefully, they go out. Our calling in this moment is to tend the flame, indeed to fan it.
I would add that Rabbi Shapiro’s sermon was an example of the benefit that Christians receive when we take the time to listen to our Jewish brothers and sisters. His sermon was both a lesson and an inspiration. I give thanks to God for his presence with us!
Fr. Harvey Hill
This blog is my occasional reflections on life, God, Christian faith, and the Church. I hope you find it helpful!