“…For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew (18:20)
It is thought that this passage is derived from “…When two sit and there are between them the words of the Torah, the divine presence (Shekinah) rests upon them” (Pirqê ’Abôt 3, 3). The term skekinah comes from rabbinic literature like this piece and means the indwelling presence of God. In Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah, the shekhinah is associated with the female presence of G!d. (I write God as G!d, when referring to God in the Jewish tradition out of respect.) If I were to translate what I feel when I read the Hebrew text, it would be: “When we sit together in respectful and sacred space, we feel the presence of a comforting G!d.”
In the Quran, Sakīnah also means the presence of God and is found directly within the writings. “Their prophet said to them, “The sign of his kingship is that the Ark will come to you in which there is tranquility from your Lord and a relic from the family of Moses and the family of Aaron, borne by the angels. In this is a sign for you if you are true believers. [Quran 2:248] I feel into this to mean that “If you come with an open heart and sit within a circle which everyone holds sacred, including Jews and Christians, you will be enveloped in the indwelling presence of God.”
Sacred circles and gatherings are also a concept in earth-centered religions and spirituality. It is within these circles of mostly women that I have always felt welcomed, respected, and loved. It is how I first understood that being with a group of people can feel comforting and allow me to be myself.
Speaking as a mother, my hopes and dreams for our community is one in which we all feel as equal participants and that we all love and honor each other just as we are in that moment. I hope that people feel free to join for workshops and liturgies regardless of their religious, social, and personal backgrounds. Participate with the knowledge that each of our paths is respected and all of us are loved for being ourselves! All are welcome means just that!