Next to my bedroom window hangs an abridged framed version of Psalm 27.
The Lord is my Light and my Salvation
Whom Shall I Fear?
Thou hast been my help;
Cast me not off…
Be Strong. Let thy heart take courage.
Twenty five years ago I was ordained as a rabbi. My God- friend, Sister Gretchen, meticulously calligraphed in black ink this precious gift.
When I wake up in the morning, I read this Psalm and I remember how we met. She and I were part of a six clergy cluster who came together for six months for a weekly Wednesday vision quest . Our goal was to hasten a home away from home for those who were living and dying with HIV-AIDS. Together, the nun, the rabbi, the minister, the priest, the deacon and the pastor created a half-way house for HIV patients in Greensboro, NC. The year was 1985.
With prayer and action, we bought and repurposed a two story white picket fenced house on a quiet tree-laden street with a common wrap around porch. Four long wooden steps led up to the door where I hammered the mezuzah to the front doorpost at the opening ceremony.
This memory gives me hope.
HIV-AIDS has been a subject of scientific research and debate since the virus was identified in the 1980s. There is now a wealth of evidence on how, when and where HIV first began to cause illness in humans. Although no cure exists for AIDS, antiretroviral therapy (ART) can dramatically slow the disease's progress, prevent secondary infections and complications and prolong life.
Global medical science is moving with a sense of urgency to discover medications, vaccines and other treatments to halt the spread of Covid-19 and its mortal dangers.
So I read and re-read Psalm 27 and my heart takes courage that we, the people, will once again provide the healing and the hope that we long for.