Wednesday, November 28, 2012

whoever has had the deepest dream, gets the halvah


It’s a quiet Monday in the church. Maurizio Casa, a young opera singer walks in. Interested in doing a series of concerts in the church. He’s lived in the neighborhood before, always saw the church closed. We talk about operas. The power of music. I recall Rafael’s response to Mozart, Don Giovanni and a soprano. (better than crack) And his sadness that his own children are not exposed to this music. How classical music used to be part of our common heritage and is more and more a function of privilege. 

RL comes in to check it dates for possible open mics and showcases. Teddy just wants to see how things are going. Working long hours at Sandy clean up. 

Martin has brought a story from Rumi about three travellers, a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew. And what they discover about prayer. He’d like to turn it into a performance piece and an opportunity to explore the multicultural cauldron of creativity and achievement that was Andalusian Spain. Including an economic analysis. 

Kara breezes in. Wants some time to practice the piano. I’m happy to welcome her. I listen as she painstakingly works her way through war up exercises, scales. Then slowly  and methodically entering into her own shadowy, pensive, classic style explorations. Sometimes I find her over the top cheerfulness a little hard t handle. But Teddy reminds me that she has recovered from a serious brain injury and is pretty heroic in her comeback. So I listen closer. 

Until my couple comes in to visit. He descended from Buenos Aries Jews and a Catholic mother, she from a traditional Catholic background. They’ve been together for 13 years and want to celebrate what they’ve been through to come to this point. The outlines of a ceremony begin to fall fairly quickly int place.

Tonight’s Bible study is Mark 11: 15-19, the Cleansing of the Temple, and 20-25, The lesson of the withered fig tree. We note:
  • It is not the commerce itself that upsets Jesus but the way in which it was conducted
  • A house of prayer for all nations is from the universal vision of Malachi
  • The money changers were part of the national banking system exchanging currencies for a profit, a business under the control of the high priest and his family
  • Doves were sacrificed for the monthly cleansing of women and cleansing of lepers and other who were unclean
  • This is what we would call  a direct action, an action with symbolic meaning against the temple state establishment
  • His forbidding any further transactions to take place cold only have been accomplished with barriers or carefully organized people. It’s a tight action. Though as Teddy points out, being aware that there was existing deep anger against this system, he may  have gambled that if he and his disciples stepped forward, everyone else would join in. 
  • This action threatens a whole way of life and means of support so the chief priests and scribes begin to plot how to get rid of him. 
  • Although the fig tree incident seems peevish, petty and strange, it can also be read as an indictment of the existing system, one which cannot satisfy hunger for bear fruit.
  • His admonition to the disciples speaks to their fear that the temple and everything  that has given them identity and structure will wee no more. You don’t need a temple or a mediator, go directly to God. (I explain that in weddings, I am a facilitator, nit a mediator. Jesus wants us to have that relationship directly.) Jesus wants us to bear fruit. 
  • Since the prophers referred to the temple s God’s holy mountain and it was on a mount in Jerusalem, where al Aksa is today, the mountain to be moved is the Temple. 
  • In order to create a new way of being, you have to be able to see it, imagine it first. (11:23-24) IT’s more about claiming victory now than it s a magic prayer to get what I want. 
  • THe center of a new way of being is forgiveness. Direct from God, not mediated. But you go to the one you’ve hurt first. What’s more difficult for our study group is forgiveness.  We finally talk about how it’s fo rus, to set us free from being held, being co sumed, by the hurt that was don eto us. 

The forgiveness part is clearly the most difficult. I explain that its different than reconciliation which requires critical clarification, amends, mutually agreeable trust building steps. Forgiveness is a letting go that doesn't require interaction with the other.  

Marsdah has brought fresh muffins with pecans. Leads to a discussion of Tulsa, pecan season, pecan orchards where you could gather fesh pecans. That image of a new way of being is coming into our imagination. Still has a ways to go. 

Martin's Rumi poem:

Three Travellers Tell Their Dreams
Rumi, translation Coleman Banks
Three devout men of different religions fall in together
by chance traveling. They stop
at a caravanserai* where the host brings as a gift a sweet
dessert, some taste of God's
nearness. This is how people out in the country serve
strangers. The Jew and
the Christian are full, but the Muslim has been fasting all
day. The two say, "Lets
save it for tomorrow." The one, "No. Let's save self-denial
for tomorrow!" "You want it
all for yourself!" "Divide it into three parts, and each can
do as he wants." "Ah,
but Mohammad said not to share." "That was about dividing
yourself between sensuality
and soul. You must belong to the one or the other." But finally
for some reason, he gives in,
"I'll do it your way." They refrain from tasting. They sleep,
and then wake and dress themselves
to begin morning devotions. Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman,
Zoroastrian, stone, ground,
mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the
mystery, unique and not to be
judged. This subject never ends! Three friends in a grand
morning mood. "Let us tell
what dreams we had last night; whoever has had the deepest
dreams, gets the halvah**."
Agreed. The Jewish man begins the wanderings of his soul.
"Moses met me on the road;
I followed him to Sinai: an opening door, light within
light. Mount Sinai and Moses and
I merged in an exploding splendor, the unity of the prophets!"
This is a true dream. Many
Jews have such. Then the Christian sighs, "Christ took me
in his arms to the fourth
heaven, a pure vast region... I cannot say..." His also
deep. The Muslim, "Muhammad came
and told me where you two had gone. 'You wretch!' he said,
'You've been left behind! You
may as well get up and eat something.'" "Noooo!" laugh the
Christian and the Jew. "How
could I disobey such glory? Would you not do as Moses and
Jesus suggest?" "You're right,"
they say. "Yours is the truest dream, because it had immediate
effect in your waking life."
What matters is how quickly you do what your soul directs.

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