29 March 2013

Bodhisattva Night Out

Last night I took part in Holy Thursday mass at a local Catholic parish.  It was good for my practice.

The liturgy of Holy Thursday evening has always spoken deeply to me of things I know to be most true: that the self has to be broken and die, that healing and life lie in that brokenness, and that that brokenness becomes in turn nourishment for the life of the world and the liberation of all. 

Now all that gets packaged in the commemoration of Jesus' last meal with his disciples, and during the liturgy, the washing of the disciples' feet is reenacted.  The standard script is that the priest washes the feet of twelve men, as a picture snapshot of the events of 2000 years ago.  But last night, everyone washed everyone else's feet.  Stations with chairs and bowls and pitchers of water and towels were set up, and one by one, we all got our feet washed then switched places and washed the feet of the next person in line, on and on until all those who wished had washed and been washed.  Small words were exchanged, smiles, looks of both awkwardness and appreciation.  Old feet, kid feet, teen feet, calloused feet, feet with bunions and toenail fungus – all feet were attended to.

I was choked up and on the verge of tears the whole time.

Earlier in the service, Psalm 116 was sung.  I sometimes refer to that Psalm when explaining my ordained name to my Christian friends.  "Shodhin" means requiting, returning good for all the good received; Psalm 116 begins, "How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?"

Of course, the answer to that question and the meaning behind my name both point in the same direction: always – even if you're going to die the very next day – the most important thing is to be of compassionate service to others.

I won't stop sitting on a mat and facing a wall, but I can certainly use a few hands-on reminders of that every once in a while!

27 March 2013

Bumper Sticker

I'm not one for bumper stickers.  I may have inherited that from my father, who was absolutely resolute about never sticking anything on the car, not even the dealership logo, etc.   I heard once that the number of bumper stickers on a car indicates something about one's anger level – the more stickers, the angrier the driver, no matter what the stickers are for.  Perhaps there's some truth in that, I don't know.  Today I put a bumper sticker on my car, and, I have to admit, it was because I was somewhat ticked:

It's the sticker used by the Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates for marriage equality.  I've been a member as many years as I've been able to afford it (2 in the past 7 years), but I've always been sympathetic to their cause. 

I put it on my car today because of all the clap-trap surrounding these two days of testimony before the Supreme Court, yesterday on California's Proposition 8, today on DOMA.  The justices seem reticent to make a sweeping judgment, and I have to admit, I agree with their prudential jurisprudence.  On the whole, I'd rather leave things to develop over time and with as broad a base of support as possible.

So I put the sticker on as a way of indicating that I'm yet another person who supports marriage for all, regardless of orientation.  Maybe when folks see it in some parking lot, or on the road, or at the toll plaza, or at the repair shop, they might realize that someone not so very different from them thinks this is a good idea.  Maybe they'll come to think so, too, if they don't already, and the base of support will get just that much wider as a result.  Then maybe this can cease to be such media fodder, and we can all get on with our lives.

Of course, if DOMA gets tossed out on its ass, I won't complain, either!