Over the course of the past few weeks, my sermons have been focused on the theme of Love. On Valentine’s Day, we explored the erotic love of Eros. Last week, we explored the covenantal love embodied in Agape. At services this week, we will explore the theme of Love, as a vehicle for God’s presence.
In the Torah Portion we read on this Shabbat (Terumah), we find detailed information about the construction of Ark of the Covenant. Among the many details that are discussed is a pair of golden angels that set on top of the holy ark. Their wings are pointed upward toward the heavens; their heads are directed downward toward the ark; and their bodies face inward toward each other.
According to the mystics, these angels were not stationary fixtures. They moved. They were emotive. They were expressive and responded to the realities of the world. In times of integrity and goodness, the angels faced each other, and the focal point of the Divine Energy rested intimately between them. Face to face, God’s presence resided in the loving space that reflected the harmony and hope of the world around them. In times of discord and evil, the angels were positioned back to back. At such times, the focal point of the Divine Energy was ruptured and disconnected. Back to back, God’s presence in the world, like the angels, was discordant, amiss and alienated.
This mystical understanding of the angels on the Ark of the Covenant provides us with a powerful metaphor for our lives today. God’s presence is most powerfully experienced in times of harmony and peace, and our sense of God’s closeness is most acute in moments of intimacy and love. Join us this Shabbat as we explore the many ways that God’s presence can be brought forth into this world through the power of love.