Do you remember “Fiddler on the Roof?”
It is one of my favorite Broadway plays.
I especially like the portrayal of Tevye in the flim verion. He is played by Chaim Topol.
As his world is changing around him, Tevye seeks to maintain balance. Each daughter, as they approach a time of marriage, asks him to forego traditions that the people of his village have relied on for millennia. Each daughter finds him and his wife deliberating about whether or not tradition should be set aside.
It serves as an object lesson for the world we are all living in – and that would make for a good reflection, since the church as we know it is wrestling with serious questions about which traditions will hold and which ones won’t.
That’s not what I want to speak about.
As you watch the film, every time Tevye deals with a crisis, he talks about it. He does it when he is alone. He does it with God.
As if God were walking alongside him; as if God were able to hear every word; as if God would stop everything and pay attention to his concerns, his cares, his worries, his fears; as if God would, having listened, offer a response that would settle the matter for Tevye: assuming all of that, Tevye talks to God as we would to our most trusted friend and confidante.
You know what I call that?
When I was in my local church as a pastor, I would teach classes on how to pray. I would play this movie, asking the participants to pay careful attention to how Tevye treated his relationship with his Sacred.
That assumption, that expectation that God is present and available and interested and active – that is prayer. It isn’t necessarily a bowed head, a bent knee, a well spoken, well crafted piece of prose or poetry. It is an honest, raw, humble, ‘here is what’s on my heart’ conversation that trusts that our sacred cares to hear it and desires to respond.
It is as natural to him as breathing.
What’s on your heart?
What’s weighing on your mind?
What’s giving you joy?
With whom do you share all of that?
When you find yourself alone, try doing what Tevye did. Talk, out loud, with raw honesty – to your sacred. Assume she hears, and cares, and wants to respond. It is a powerful experience.
Confused, afraid, lost, angry, joyful – it’s all fair game for time with your sacred.
Gentle listener, I wish you joy on the journey. I wish you peace. I wish you times of blessing and grace. And today, I wish for you a walk with your sacred that finds you intimately connected to a partner who wants to know what you are experiencing on this, your journey Into the Mystic.