During the night a cricket found its way into our sanctuary. It settled somewhere near the organ, in a corner not far from a door and daylight. Worshippers began to arrive in small groups of two or three. They greeted one another with smiles and handshakes, kisses and the occasional hug. Gradually a community formed, preparing for a service, for prayer and standing before God, continuing traditions that are thousands of years old yet still meaningful today.
The cricket was oblivious to it all. It chirped away as the organ began to play, as the first words of prayer were offered. Hopes and dreams were privately expressed, prayers recited, songs sung, a sermon delivered and sacred scriptures chanted. There is an ebb and flow to the service, quiet moments juxtaposed with loud exultations, praises to God, the shaking of palm fronds and willow branches, the fragrant smell of the etrog. An arc with an intended apotheosis, long sought, seldom achieved. A holy grail? But glimpses, from the periphery of our vision.
The cricket never knew. Chirping away, adding its own note to the music and song, punctuating a phrase here and there and quieting when anyone drew near. It had no concern for God and history, no questions about fate and purpose. The service concluded. Greetings and wishes for a good holiday, a good Shabbat, were extended. Food, that other form of communal worship, waited in another room. Within a few short minutes the chapel was empty again. The eternal light flickered while the ark stood silent, the Torahs resting until called forth the next time. Just the cricket was left, and it paid it all no mind. Continuing its song, attending to its business. Perhaps it sensed a quieting, and in that space found its own light.