On Building Zion’s Little Lending Library

By on July 1, 2015 in News & Musings

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Not long ago, there lived a Jewish rabbi and theologian—Abraham Joshua Heschel. He was blessed with a profound depth of spirituality and his life was imbued with an ecstatic/mystic sense of the ineffable God.

As the Nazis were coming to power in Germany, he was rescued by friends and brought to the United States to teach at Hebrew Union College. While away, his mother and three sisters were murdered by the Nazis. Anguished though he was, he did not lose faith in God; but rather concluded, “The cardinal issue, why does the God of justice and compassion permit evil to persist? is bound up with the problem of how man should aid God so that His justice and compassion prevail.”

Rabbi Heschel became a passionate advocate for the oppressed; and in the course of his religious/social activism, he and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. crossed paths and formed a deep bond of friendship with each other. In 1965, Dr. King asked Rabbi Heschel if he would march with him in the front rank of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march. Afterward, Rabbi Heschel said, “It felt like I was praying with my legs.”

It is difficult for me to pray. Words do not come. I don’t know why. God knows. God understands. God loves me the same. So how do I speak with God beyond my stumbling words?

I enjoy creating and building things—such as the little lending library for “little Zion.” As a physician, I also take great pleasure and fulfillment in taking seriously my call to care for the people of God—to “be Christ to my neighbor.” These things I can do. When words fail me, the “Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words…and God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:26-27). And also, as I create and build and try to live and work with integrity and passion in response to God’s love in Christ, it feels as if I, too, am praying with my hands, my feet, my mind and heart.

That is the story of the little lending library.

Our guest blogger and woodworker, Brad Langley, recently joined Zion. We are blessed by his thoughtful theology, beautiful work, and kind words – and so is everyone who visits Zion’s Little Lending Library!

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