This photo of an ancient synagogue in the Golan in Israel brings up both the frailty and sturdiness of history. The Jewish house of worship in the photo is many centuries old. It reflects millennia of Jewish connection to the area, along with the realities of wars, destruction, exile, division, and battles over God and faith, righteousness and identity … All of which continue to this day … in many faiths and identifications … all over the world.
I look at this photo and where some might see ruins, I see times of destruction and times of rebuilding. I see a testament to time’s eternal light. I feel awe at the masonry and workmanship, at the symmetry and the human stories these walls had seen, heard, lived, know. People have gathered to worship communally in this synagogue, as humans of all faiths had gathered in places of worship around the world before and since. At its core, a house of worship – be it made of bricks, wood, stone, or out in open nature; whether it praises one God or the many deities of spirituality – holds the potential to bring people closer together and closer to appreciating creation and the need for compassion and gratitude.
Geography shifts, empires shuffle people around, greed blinds, circumstances and propaganda preach division (and sometimes even hate and violence), but at its very foundation, humanity withstands, faith remains, hope endures.
May we build on strength and community. May our foundations always hold true and strong.