Tue, 11/21/2017 - 8:15pm

The meaning of faith

To the Editor:

Some years ago, Justin Abrams thoughtfully offered us a “siddur,” the “Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book,” which, for many years, before replaced, had served Temple Emanuel, in Providence, where the Abrams family worshipped in days of yore.

In addition to the traditional prayers, the book included a selection of well-chosen and spiritually uplifting “Supplementary Readings.”

Among them was “The Meaning of Faith” by Abraham Joshua Heschel, the rabbi who marched to Selma alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

To have faith is to perceive the wonder that is here, and to be stirred by the desire to integrate the self into the holy order of living.

Faith does not spring out of nothing. It comes with the discovery of the holy dimension of our existence.

We live by the certainty that we are not as dust in the wind, that our life is related to the ultimate, the meaning of all meanings.

God’s existence can never be tested by human thought. All proofs are mere demonstrations of our thirst for Him.  Does the thirsty man need a proof for his thirst?

There is neither advance nor service without faith. Nobody can rationally explain why he should sacrifice his life and happiness for the sake of the good.

Faith does not detach man from thinking, it does not suspend reason. It is opposed not to knowledge but to indifferent aloofness to the essence of living.

Faith means to hold small things great, to take light matters seriously, to distinguish the common and the passing from the aspect of the lasting.

Faith is an awareness of divine mutuality and companionship, a form of communion between God and man.

To regard all that happens as workings of Providence is to deny human responsibility. We must not idolize history.

This world is more frequently subject to the power of man than to the love of God.

Its power is revealed when man is able to exercise defiance in the face of adversity.

Our task is to act, not only to enjoy; to change, not only to accept; to augment, not only to discover the glory of God.

What is it that makes us worthy of life, if not our compassion and ability to help?

We do not exist for our own sake. Life would be preposterous if not for the love it confers.

Faith is a dynamic, personal act, flowing between the heart of man and the love of God.

The man of faith will know when to consent and when to defy.

It is faith from which we draw the sweetness of life, the taste of the sacred, the joy of the imperishably dear.  It is faith that offers us a share in eternity.

Faith is the insight that life is not a self-maintaining, private affair, not a chaos of whims and instincts, but an aspiration, a way, not a refuge.

Faith is real only when it is not one-sided but reciprocal. Man can rely on God, if God can rely on man.

We may trust in Him because He trusts in us. Our trustworthiness for God is the measure of the integrity of our faith.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Congregation of the Sons and Daughters of Ruth.


Enjoy the Lobster Pot Tree!

To the Editor:

This is the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree’s seventh season and it is bigger and better than ever… two levels taller than in previous years. Harold “Turtle” Hatfield does not believe in doing the same thing twice, so it is fun to see how he changes it every year. He is using the fish pot at the top of the tree for the first time in several years. When asked how many lobster pots he used, he said he had no idea! Anyone want to count them?

And, continuing with the tradition of making the tree building a festive family event, is our fun fundraiser! Congratulations to the kids (and parents) from the Block Island School who sold coffee, hot chocolate, and baked goods — raising $438. Half of the money raised goes to the Block Island School Friends program, which helps fund class trips and the other half goes into the maintenance fund for Esta’s Park. Also, a big thank you to those community members who donated baked goods and who stopped by and bought goodies and made donations!

A huge thank you goes to Turtle, the organizer of this fantastic project, and his wife, Heather, who has probably untangled more tree lights than anyone on this island!  Because of the threatened wind storm this weekend, Turtle started earlier this week moving the lobster pots into place to build the tree and getting the buoys ready to decorate it.  This event was planned for Sunday afternoon, but the construction of the tree was actually done on Saturday to beat the high wind gusts forecast for Sunday.

Fortunately, the rain disappeared in time on Sunday to decorate the tree with lights and buoys and sell home baked goodies… all of which could be done despite the high winds. On Saturday and Sunday his faithful helpers showed up: Jordan and Kate Ryan, Patrick Evans, and Kate Mello, and their kids who put in hours of construction time! Thanks for another superb job, guys!

I also want to thank the behind the scene helpers. A big thank you also goes to Fred Howarth for supplying the buoys and to Jon Grant for the loan of all the lobster pots. Also, a huge thank you goes to Robbie Gilpin for once again providing the revolving light for the top of the tree.  Thanks, also, to the Block Island Gardeners for making the wreaths for the park (and the whole downtown area) and the Block Island Tourism Council for providing the new tree lights. Last, but not least, thanks to three of our businesses for their support: Island Hardware donated the zip ties, the BIG supplied the coffee cups, and Kimberly’s baked delicious tomato tarts.

The lights will be turned on at dusk on Thanksgiving Day so families here for the holiday can enjoy the tree before leaving on Friday. The Old Harbor Task Force invites you and your friends and family to come down and take a few photos of everyone standing in front of the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree. 

It is always a pleasure to thank the Block Island community for its continued support of the park... and of the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree! 

Margie Comings, Chair

Old Harbor Task Force

PS:  If you noticed that one of the benches is missing, you are really good! It had to be removed to make room for the tree and it will return in January when the tree comes down.