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Why We Come from Gratitude

Weekly Recap Vid of Below the Bible Belt

A mere mile or two from Jerusalem you find yourself in the dry desert, the Judean Wilderness that lays to the north and east of the sacred city. This is where David fled from Saul and where he composed some of the psalms of despair we’ve recently read, thirsty for trust, lost in search of love and solace. The oasis in the middle of the desert, like a response in the middle of despair, is the place of gratitude, where thirst is quenched and hope, if for a little bit, is restored.  Maybe this is where some of these poems come from, fed by the cool springs and palm tree breezes. 

David does from gratitude. He is a son of the tribe of Judah, and will become its king. 

The Hebrew word Judah comes from the word for ‘thank you’, as in Genesis 29:35

“Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, because she said, “Now I will thank God.”

The fateful name was chosen by Leah, Jacob’s wife, when she names her fourth and last son, for her feeling good, and being grateful.  What’s in a name?

By the time the Judean kingdom fell, the name has stuck and to be Jewish is today to come from gratitude. 

It isn’t easy to be grateful during these divisive times, and it isn’t easy to be Jewish, or human, or one who believes in best outcomes, and in the power of the oasis to give us shelter in these wild and bewildering times, wandering in the wilderness. 

Yet the psalms we read this week, composed while in this Judean desert where I just hiked in early morning, are what poem are, and what an oasis is: A pause, a chance to refresh and catch our breath, to start again, with gratitude. Come what may, there is much to be thankful for, and there is thirst to quench and road to travel, step by step. 

I hope we remember to be grateful for what it - and not get stuck with what is not. 

Thank you for joining me below the Bible Belt, as our journey with these psalms continue.  Wishing us all, everywhere, nurturing and healing, hope and peace. 

Shabbat Shalom.