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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Born Free

"Born Free"

Fast, on a rough road riding
High, through the mountains climbing
twisting, turning further from my home.
Young, like a new moon rising
Fierce, through the rain and lightning
Wandering out into this great unknown.
And I don't want no one to cry.
But, tell 'em if I don't survive

I was born free!

I was born free
I was born free, born free.

Free, like a river raging
Strong as the wind I’m facing.
Chasing dreams and racing father time.
Deep like the grandest canyon,
Wild like an untamed stallion.
If you can’t see my heart you must be blind.

You can knock me down and watch me bleed
But you can’t keep no chains on me.

I was born free!
I was born free
I was born free, born free.

And I'm not good at long goodbyes
But look down deep into my eyes
I was born free.

Calm, facing danger
Lost, like an unknown stranger

Grateful for my time with no regrets

Close to my destination
Tired, frail and aching
Waiting patiently for the sun to set

And when it's done, believe that I
will yell it from that mountain high

I was born free

I was born free
I was born free, born free

I will bow to the shining sea
And celebrate God's grace on thee

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Do this in remembrance of Me"

While many believe the Passover to be a Jewish feast, it is a feast of the LORD, 
and  it has much to teach us all. 
Jesus was a Jew, but He came for EVERYBODY.
Passover Symbols--Symbols for our Lives
(Thoughts for Shabbat Aharei Moth, the eve of Passover 5768)
by Rabbi Marc D. Angel
In preparing a speech for the recent wedding of Denise Cohen and Sasha Toperich, I pondered the meaning of the Passover symbols for our lives. The Haggada explains the historical background of these symbols; but I wondered if other important ideas were also hidden within them.  Here are the thoughts that came to my mind.
Matzah is a basic, no-frills item.  It is flour and water, without leavening. It stands for our basic selves, unpretentious, not inflated with vanity or pride. Matzah reminds us that we need to remember who we are; that we need not (and should not) participate in the rat race of one upmanship; that we cannot let our own internal happiness be dependent on how others judge us. Matzah is what it is, without apology, without need to impress others, without worrying if other foods are fancier or more elegant.
Because of its sheer simplicity and honesty, Matzah symbolizes freedom.  When we really know who we are, we gain a fine sense of our own freedom.  We can be strong unto ourselves; we can rise above the fray; we can stop playing games of who has more, who has better, who has control.  When we are free within, we have the confidence to live our own lives, not the counterfeit lives that others would impose on us.
The Pessah offering in the ancient Temples in Jerusalem was to be eaten in groups of family and friends; the paschal lamb was not to be prepared for only one person.  If Matzah symbolizes the inner strength of the individual, the Pessah offering reminds us that we are part of a family, part of a larger community. For us to grow as meaningful human beings, we need to see beyond our individual selves. We remember our family origins--our parents and grandparents, our earlier generations. We link ourselves to those traditions and see ourselves as part of a grand dramatic unfolding of family history. We recognize that we are also links in that chain of family tradition, with responsibilities to family and friends--and to generations yet unborn.
The Maror, bitter herbs, remind us that the world includes many people whose lives are filled with suffering, pain and bitterness. As we are grateful to the Almighty for the blessings He has showered upon us, we cannot forget the bitter tears that are shed by hungry children, by helpless parents, by lonely and frail elderly people. We cannot forget the immeasurable pain inflicted by wars, by terrorism, by cruelty, by disease, by poverty...
As we sit around the seder table, the Matzah reminds us of our basic individuality; the shankbone (symbolizing the Pessah offering) reminds us of our link to family and friends; the Maror reminds us that our happiness and fulfillment also depend on our concern for those who are less fortunate, those whose lives are embittered.
The Maror also reminds us that no one gets through life without experiencing times of sadness and pain. At those times, we need family and friends to come to our aid, to comfort us; and when others are grieving, they need us to console them and help them.
 Matzah, Pessah and Maror, then, have ongoing messages for how we can lead better, happier and more meaningful lives. Together, they contribute to our inner freedom, our family continuity, our commitment to make this a better world.
I wish you a happy and meaningful Passover festival. Mo'adim leSimha, Hagim uZmanim leSason.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

He came just for you.

I've heard it said that a man would swim the ocean
Just to be with the one he loves
How may times has he broken that promise
It can never be done
I've never swam the deepest ocean
But I walked upon the raging sea
I know that you don't understand
the fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sins
And I know that you don't realize
how much that I gave you
But I promise, I would do it all again.
Just to be with you, I've done everything
There's no price I did not pay
Just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away.
Love Song by Third Day

Monday, April 2, 2012

In the wilderness?

I have to admit that while I live in one of the top vacation destinations in the US - I have an ever present longing to go "home". Its not so much the shores of Lake Ontario that beckon me to return, but the longing for my community of friends and family that reside there. Oh to be "where everybody knows your name", and more than that know WHO YOU ARE - without explanation.
In the last two decades I have gone from being an ultra feminist with a taste for atheism to being a home-schooling Messiah believing MaMa - whose main objective is to understand God's will for me and to act on it ("THY will be done", easy to say--tricky to actually want;).
In my life in that small town, I was blessed with and surrounded by people who, while they didn't always understand my choices or direction (eccentric & weird were terms thrown about at times), I could count on "my people" to always stand beside me, and sometimes even join me for the ride. But now, I make my way in uncharted territory, feeling as if I have to not only defend my faith but explain myself & my bizarre choices at every turn, and most of the time nobody really has the ears to hear, if you know what I mean.
So, as the Grace household starts to prepare for Passover, I am reminded of two fundamental principles of Judaism: FREEDOM & COMPASSION FOR THE OUTSIDER. I am grateful that I have the freedom to worship how I want and have the authority to teach my children the same. I am also grateful that we are told "one law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you", I am beyond thankful to be an adopted child of God. JOHN 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Today, I make a pledge, that when the "homesickness" creeps in- I will remind myself that I AM NOT ALONE, and that apparently God has placed me on this rock to do HIS WILL & spread the good news! Feeling sad & lonely? Get to work! There are people out there who are truly sad & lonely - who need a message of hope, if we are sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves- then who is going to lift them up?!
Matthew 26:27-28 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins