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Trumpets and clouds

Red light, green light, one, two, three! -a  kids’ game with clear signals, and a clear aim – to reach another person, the caller. We long for clear signs on our journey – of stopping and starting places. Well, this past week ended the school year for my sixth and fourth graders, our journey ends, and we say goodbye, I’ll miss you! I know they will grow and change – they won’t quite be the same in September. Last week were commencement exercises at the community college where I teach. I guess it’s a green light, but it ends a journey, and many relationships that were forged. In this week’s Torah portion are interesting traffic signals for our journey in the wilderness. A cloud over the Tent – that portable sanctuary, meeting place, during the day – to comfort, cool and surround. Pillar of fire at night to enlighten and warm. These are the times to linger in the wilderness, to experience what it has to teach you, not to move on in your journey. When the cloud lifts from the tent, we know it’s time to move – but what will we do on the move? Well, Moses then instructs the Israelites to fashion silver trumpets, instruments for us to listen to, whether it is to fight our battles, or to celebrate our joys. Either way, the blast of melody can help us to respond with a full heart. But perhaps the real aim, of commencing summer vacation, or a job search, or other battles and joys, is to stride with our hearts trumpet-inspired and reach another soul. Red light, green light, one, two, three. Miriam, sister of Moses, must battle illness – snow white scales. Her journey stops, and she waits, on the outskirts, for the week. Her brother reaches out to her, and to God, with a heartfelt prayer for healing “El na r’fah na la” God, please heal her, please! And then the journey can continue. Perhaps that’s the real meaning of the cloud of vapor and pillar of fire while we must wait: Cooling vapors surround us in the heat, fires warm away the chill so we can refresh and heal. The enclosures of childhood: family, teachers, friends are these clouds and flames,  lifting to release us, so we can move forward. Melodies inspire and guide which way we’ll go . I offer this song for healing by Beth Schafer, because she urges that the power to move forward, out of the darkness is deep within us all along

El Na Ra fa na la (playing as a rhythmic chant throughout)
It’s in you, it’s in me
The power to emerge into the light from the dark, it’s in you…
Talk to every fiber of your being with your heart, It’s in you
Oh God, give me the strength
I am tired but I’m listening
Is it in me? The answer’s in me
Oh God give me the courage
To risk battling my brokenness
Is it in me? The way is in me
El Na Ra fa na la
It’s in you, it’s in me,…

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