windowOne of my favorite British sitcoms is The Vicar of Dibley. Starring the talented Dawn French, it is about a feisty female cleric, the Rev. Geraldine Granger, and her tiny country parish filled with lovable, curmudgeonly parishioners. In one particular episode, a stained glass window in the sanctuary is smashed by a storm. Aghast, the board assembles and determines the window must be replaced with exactly the same beloved illustration there was before (even though no one can remember what that picture was).
Rev. Granger manages to raise 10,000 pounds, for the window’s restoration. Meanwhile, a terrible hurricane strikes Haiti, leaving thousands of injured and homeless Haitians. When the window is repaired and the day of unveiling arrives, the curtain rises to reveal a brand-new and extraordinarily beautiful scene—a tree, and behind it, the sky outside the church. Rev. Granger had replaced the window with plain, clear glass, and sent the majority of the 10,000 pounds to house homeless Haitians.
While I don’t want our board to fear that I will similarly re-appropriate large sums of temple money (as if we had any….), I applaud the Vicar’s priorities and chutzpah. More, I appreciate how a window that was, in fact, no window at all, no opening to anything but a forgettable depiction of some unidentified Biblical scene, became, in fact, a window on the world, an opening to the outside, to God’s created universe, as well as an opening to other people, places, needs, and crises inevitably greater than their own.
It reminded me of a children’s book we have called God In Between. It is about a group of villagers who realize they cannot find God anywhere. They send out searchers who travel high and low but still cannot find God. Upon their return, the searchers realize their tiny homes have no windows and no paths going between them. When they change that, install windows in their walls and create easy pathways through the village, they realize they have found God. God is what connects them. God is in the ‘in between.’
I believe that what is most potentially sacred is that which is ‘in between’ each of us, but only if that between constitute an opening, a window or a path, and not a wall.
Holiness is in window

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