Posts from February, 2014
Stories of Spirit was a wonderful evening hosted by the Chaplain’s Office. It was a night of stories, songs, hilarious personalities, and heartfelt testimonies. Here are some excerpts from the evening if you didn’t get a chance to come to the event.
This week, at a very special Shove Council, we discussed Apocalypse and End of Days narratives. It was a wonderful, thriving discussion about what it means to talk about the end of the world. We spanned a broad range of topics, from sensationalist Hollywood Apocalypse stories and the eventual heat death of the universe to personal epiphanies and the clarity that comes from ending a story.
People of every generation seem to have their own Apocalypse narratives, whether it be impending nuclear armageddon or inevitable climate change. Things become even more complicated when you consider what the “end of the world” entails. The end of our personal experience of the world (death)? Or the end of a certain world (what’s the difference between the collapse of the United States versus the collapses of many other countries that seem to already be happening)? Additionally, what happens when we consider apocalypses that may already have happened? The one species of mammal that survived an otherwise mass extinction. The Jewish community that was forced to reevaluate its relationship to God after the destruction of the 2nd Temple. The early Christians who were told Jesus would come back in their generation and then had to re imagine what all those stories had meant.
On a smaller scale, how do we envision our time here as an apocalypse? With every 4th week comes a certain kind of “end of days.” With every block break, a utopia. And then the cycle starts again.
In this week, may each of your own apocalypses bring the clarity that only comes with an ending.
Ben Grund, Chaplain’s Intern.
I’ve been celebrating Shabbat since I was a child with friends and my local Jewish Community Center. Since I’m Roman Catholic, celebrating Shabbat has always meant that someone opened their home and their table to me, and this last Friday night was the most meaningful expression of that tradition thus far. The Chaplains’ Office and Hillel here at CC put on a special Shabbat service in Palmer that was attended by about forty students. The tables were beautifully decorated with tapestries, collections of candles and paper plates decorated with red, orange and yellow tulips. I arrived in advance to set up, following the direction of a Jewish student to get everything in its proper place.
Once people started arriving we were tasked to find someone we knew very well and learn something new about them and then find someone we knew not at all and learn their favorite Shabbat memory. This way, I told my great friend Helen for the first time about how I was writing a children’s book (something I can be very shy about, so kudos to this event for revealing it!) and then found a classmate from my current class, with whom I shared stories about my childhood Shabbats and heard about his experiences with Shabbat in Jerusalem. When we sat down for dinner I ended up at a table half with people I didn’t know and with some of my closest friends at CC. Though I didn’t know all the prayers when the lights were off and the blessings began I truly felt closer to God and thankful for the the opportunity to open a day of rest in my life. After the blessings over the food we ate a lovely meal!
My favorite part of the event was the way I saw so many students lead the dinner, from leading a blessing of the Inner Child to leading and teaching songs and prayers and candle lighting. I felt as if I could stay in the space for hours just talking and singing with those gathered. My favorite song of the night was an old favorite of mine: Lord Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary. It was a first for me this time, however, because we sang in Aramaic.
As I get closer to graduating from Colorado College, this Shabbat dinner was a reminder to me of all the things I love and value about the CC and the Spiritual Life Community and what I will look for in a community when I leave: inclusivity, kindness, sharing and participating. As I said before and at the dinner, sitting down to a Shabbat dinner means to me that someone has welcomed me to celebrate their tradition with them. I really feel honored and grateful to have shared Friday night with the Jewish community at CC.
There is something comforting about service. Many things in this world are complicated, but there are only so many ways to vacuum a pew cushion. Today, the Chaplains’ Interns and Chaplains Kate and Bruce gave Shove some gracious tender love and care. We cleaned the entire sanctuary, from the floors to the dust on the very top of the doors. Far from being just a logistical necessity, we tried to dwell on the idea that this was a spiritual revitalizing. Touching and bringing new energy to a building that has not been touched like this in a long time. There is something beautiful about running your hand over a wooden rafter that has probably not been touched in years. Additionally, as much as you give new life to old places you also discover relics of old life you never expected. A pair of old reading glasses in the choir pew. A nailfile in the loft. An ancient tripod that no one remembers using.
Of course, there was also fun music and some spontaneous dancing. And much gratitude that amongst the craziness of the block plan and the immensely increasing complexity of work and responsibility, we have the simple blessing of service.