02 October 2016

End of an era


The sun is setting today, Sunday 2 October 2016. I'm in my lounge room thinking about Grand Finals and another beautiful day in Sydney. The Jewish people worldwide are gathering, many in family homes, and others in synagogues; most are dismissing the new year 5777 as 'just another day' and needing no relevant consideration. Eras do come and eras go; what we do with them, and with our lives as we consider what lies ahead... well that is what makes us rational, thinking people.

The Western Bulldogs claimed their first premiership since 1954 after defeating the Sydney Swans by 22 points in the AFL grand final at the MCG on Saturday. And in a short while either the Cronulla Sharks (also waiting for 50 years without a premiership) or the Melbourne Storm (in their 500th game) will claim the Grand Final flag in National Rugby League (NRL) championship being played at ANZ Stadium in Sydney's Homebush.

Eras come and eras go. I watched the German tennis great Angelique Kerber take out Serena Williams in the final grand slam of the year in New York's Arthur Ashe stadium in August. February 17, 2013 was the last time Serena Williams was not ranked No. 1 in the world in women’s tennis. After the US Open she relinquished that throne for the first time in 186 weeks.

Around baseball in the US, David Ortiz is farewelling each stadium in which he plays his final season. Like Derek Jeter in 2014, and so many others before him, his era in Boston with the Red Sox is ending in honour parades, accolades and historic applause throughout the Major League.

The Republicans in the US are hoping that their presidential candidate Donald Trump will be able to end the era of US President Barack Obama and level his chosen successor Hillary Rodham Clinton in a finals flurry on Tuesday 8 November. The election seems to be just around the corner and we are hoping so, since the process involving jockeying and positioning and finally the primaries which began only about 10 months ago seems interminable.

Eras come and eras go. As do fashions. As do blogs. As do years. Tonight ends 5776, the Jewish year in which we saw the end of the blood moons razzle-dazzle, and the shemitah noises. What else happened the last 12 months? A stabbing and car-ramming epidemic in Israel that some called a third intifada was among the most dominant Jewish stories of the past year. But 5776 was also notable for the release of spy Jonathan Pollard after 30 years in prison, the communal fallout from the Iran nuclear deal, a historic (and unfinished) agreement on egalitarian worship at the Western Wall and continuing clashes between pro-Israel students and the BDS movement on college campuses.

More events: Pope Francis meets Jewish leaders in Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate, the landmark declaration that rejected collective Jewish guilt for the killing of Christ and paved the way for improved Jewish-Catholic relations. In the meeting in St. Peter's Square, Francis declares: "Yes to the rediscovery of the Jewish roots of Christianity. No to anti-Semitism.” Also The United Nations recognised Yom Kippur as an official holiday. Sen. Bernie Sanders won several primaries including his first one, the New Hampshire primary, becoming the first Jewish candidate in American history to win a presidential primary.

End of life is really end of an era as since last Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) these Jews died: Fyvush Finkel, an Emmy Award-winning actor, Shimon Peres, the former Prime Minister and President of Israel, Gary Shandling, Esther Jungreis, a pioneer in the Jewish outreach movement, and Gene Wilder.

Last year as Rosh Hashanah approached, author Sandra Teplinsky wrote in Charisma Magazine, "At this season of tetrad blood moons, a completed Shemitah, and exponentially escalating sin, of this we can be sure: God is trumpeting a love call to give heed to Him and His ways. To those who respond, He will give grace to receive new grace. He will empower them to boldly withstand and shift some of the ways of the world in the year ahead. Kingdom conflict will intensify, as the Scriptures say it must. But that's because the King Himself is coming. My prayer is that in 5776 He'll come powerfully through each of us. This year, may the shofar's trumpet draw you deeper into His kingdom goodness and glory!"

That was Sandra's word last year. Every era has a beginning; every era has an ending. What will you do with 5777? What will you do in your era? Will you live your life for the living God? Will you consider how to make the world a better place this year, this week, tonight?

Will you get to know the Lord? Will you?

1 comment:

Deborah Kline-Iantorno said...

Beautiful post!