Earlier this week I hosted a panel discussion with interfaith clergy at The Davis Academy Middle School. The whole experience, from start to finish, felt very sacred. From our pre-huddle where we connected as colleagues and human beings to the discussion itself, which was driven by thoughtful questions from the students and deep listening. It felt like a small tikkun (mending) amidst the brokenness of the world around us.
After the formal discussion ended, a faculty member approached us. She introduced herself, explained a bit about her rich and varied faith background, then took a small figurine of Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, from her pocket. She explained that she planned to give the figurine to a close friend who is experiencing difficulty conceiving a child and asked if each of us might bless the figurine as a gesture of spiritual support.
I’m pretty sure the three of us, “experts” at faith, were caught off guard by the invitation. I know it took me a second to confirm that it was “kosher” for a rabbi to bless a Catholic figurine. I can’t speak for my colleagues, but I suspect they had a similar moment. After a few seconds of reflecting on what was being asked, each of us took turns holding the figurine and offering authentic words of blessing. It was a joy listening to my colleagues and seeing what it all meant to the four people involved.
The whole experience only lasted about two minutes, but it’s something I’ll never forget.
Often the premise of, “an imam, a priest, and a rabbi,” feels like the setup for a bad joke. And while humor has its time and place, and is often a healing force unto itself, there’s so much more than a punchline and a cheap laugh that can come into the world when we come together in mutual respect and common purpose.