As Christians, our roots are found in the Jewish faith. During the “church history” unit, Faith UMC’s confirmation class usually makes a visit to Congregation Beth Shalom in The Woodlands for a Friday evening Shabbat service. The students always have good questions to ask their hosts, and often see the connections between Jewish worship and Christian worship.
Today (September 25th) marks the end of Sukkot. Also known as the Festival of Booths, this is a week long festival of giving thanks. Read more about it here: http://www.reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/sukkot Follow the links about the customs and blessings as well.
In Boston, a city filled with college students, Orthodox rabbis will park a small trailer with a sukkot booth along the street next to a college or university campus, and encourage busy college students to take a moment between classes to step into the sukkot and say the traditional prayers. Here you will find a slideshow of campus ministry sukkot booths: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/20/hillel-sukkahs-2013-sukkot_n_3957312.html You’ll see the Aggie students giving the “gig ’em” sign in their booth, and at least two of the colleges are United Methodist related institutions.
It takes some creativity in our busy world to maintain traditions. Despite the fact that Sukkot is a relatively minor tradition, and that it lasts a week, Jewish college students have found creative ways to honor their faith traditions that keep their faith lively. Did you see all the smiles in those photos?
What faith traditions or rituals are most important to you?
How do you (and your church) keep faith traditions fresh and lively?
Perhaps the Spirit is inspiring you to be creative with a faith tradition at Faith UMC – share with us your creative ideas!