Saturday, January 8, 2011

thirty-third visit: Jan 7th 2011 Interfaith Shabbat

6pm friday

hosted by Kathryn and Zoe
at Kathyrn and Samm's house
north side

Stef, a friend of mine and a regular here at Shabbat, suggests that I include this gathering in gatherings. So I contact the hosts and mention my impetus, and the fact that I won't know if I can make it until the last minute. "Oh, it's an informal gathering. Don't worry about RSVPing. If you can come, then we'll see you."

This Shabbat happens every other Friday. Those who started it in the early summer of 2010, intended not to continue it once the busy fall began. Now, inches of snow accumulate and it's still going, growing larger every week.

Forty bodies nestle across the living room floor, potluck
salad dishes flood the kitchen counters, and wine flows before the liturgy's start. Song: some for listening and some for joining in, live acoustic guitar, readings, poetry and sacred text. Theme: peace. Sweet folded paper programs. Simply but remarkably well designed. Forethought and effort, no doubt. And the Old Testament reading includes Issaiah 11:6, one of the few that especially had meaning to me when I was small, the animal lover that I still am: "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them."

Books on shelves—fiction and poetry by my favorite authors or ones I need to read. The impulse not to pluck one down and leaf through as we talk in groups is tough, but resisted. Then two and two come together: Samm, husband to Kathryn, co-habitant of the home, began as a writer. Poems and short pieces. Then wanting to put images with his writings, he worked in graphic design, then pursued yet another arts field that unites the visual and the word: theatre, and finally (currently) film and video. All of this before his present age of 25. We talked about his long hours in the film and 3-D animation studio. There IS no other way, I am aware from knowing others doing the same, and dabbling a little myself. I mention that an animation student has signed up for my "Obsessions" painting class, no coincidence. We then curved the conversation from obsessive work habits and obsessions in general, back to religion, no coincidence.

"I never liked going to church while growing up," Samm says. "The formality of it."
Here's a secret: me neither, really. But I do like doing this project; gatherings is a different animal, entirely. He goes on:
"So I was kind of surprised to find out that there are a lot of people my age who feel the same. His wife (Kathryn) is studying theology, and he implies she did not have the same formerly-conflicted relationship with religion. Anyway, they decided to start this bi-weekly Shabbat. Informal and social.

Before I turn to head home, to run out into our night of swirling white flakes, I ask Stef to sprinkle my dress with red wine and christen the evening's end.

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