Rav Eliezer was no common teacher.
Likely born early in the second half of the first century,
he became one of the men who devised rabbinic Judaism
following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E.,
and without whom Israel and its jealous god
would long since have joined Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and
their jealous gods in the purgatory of museum blockbuster shows.
And the men who stood by Eliezer’s deathbed
were clearly worthy of their master.
For notwithstanding his condition,
they ran one right up under his chin.
“Teach us,” they said, “the ways of this life
so that we may be worthy of life in the World To Come”
—which is to say they asked him how to gain eternal life.
And Eliezer joined his final breaths to brace a suitably comprehensive answer:
“Care for the honor of your colleagues;
teach your children to shun rote memorization, and
seat them on the knees of those who have studied with the sages.
And when you pray,” he concluded, “da lifne me ata omdim”
—know before Whom you stand.
Then God said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet,
for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’
— Exodus 3:3
Always and in everything let there be reverence.
— Confucius (551-479 BC)
Let everything you touch be treated as if it were as precious as the altar vessels.
Whenever you handle any equipment or any person, be reverent.
Be full of care with everything entrusted to you.
Everything you touch or see, everyone for whom you have responsibility,
is to be viewed as something cherished by God, and thus to be cherished by you.
— Norvene Vest
By having a reverence for life,
we enter into a spiritual relation with the world
By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.
— Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
Any place is sacred ground,
for it can become a place of encounter with the divine Presence.
— David Stendl- Rast (1926-)
Religion, according to Alfred North Whitehead,
is a phenomenon that begins in wonder and ends in wonder.
Feelings of awe, reverence, and gratitude are primary,
and these can never be learned from books.
We gain them from sitting high on a cliff side, gazing at the sea,
lost in reverie and listening to the laughter of children.
[Heartlight provides positive resources for daily Christian Living including the art in today’s post. LINK TO HEARTLIGHT: http://www.heartlight.org%5D