Sacred Text Reading Group
Date(s) - 11/14/2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A weekly online sacred text reading group with Reverend Amy
Using a spiritual-practice approach, in each session we will explore a different brief scriptural text in depth. The aims of the sessions are educational (learning something about the texts and traditions), spiritual/moral (discovering what the texts ask of us), and community-building (getting to know each other better). I’ll have a version of the text available to share; “bring” your own if you like. All are welcome, as are your suggestions of future texts.
Our text for Saturday, November 14 is this excerpt from Anton Chekhov’s play Three Sisters:
VERSHININ. I was at the same school as you were, I didn’t go to the Military Academy; I read a great deal, but I don’t know how to choose my books, and very likely I read quite the wrong things, and yet the longer I live the more I want to know. My hair is turning grey, I’m almost an old man, but I know so little, oh so little! But all the same I think that I do know and thoroughly grasp what is essential and matters most. And how I should like to make you see that there is no happiness for us, that there ought not to be and will not be. . . . We must work and work, and happiness is the portion of our remote descendants [a pause]. If it’s not for me, but at least it’s for the descendants of my descendants. . . .
[FEDOTIK and RODE appear in the dining-room; they sit down and sing softly, playing the guitar.]
TUZENBAKH. You think it’s no use even dreaming of happiness! But what if I’m happy?
VERSHININ. No, you’re not.
TUSENBAGH [flinging up his hands and laughing]. It’s clear we don’t understand each other. Well, how am I to convince you?
[MASHA laughs softly.]
TUSENBAKH [holds up a finger to her]. Laugh! [To VERSHININ] Not only in two or three hundred years but in a million years life will be just the same; it doesn’t change, it remains stationary, following its own laws which we have nothing to do with or which, anyway, we’ll never find out. Migratory birds, cranes for instance, fly backwards and forwards, and whatever ideas, great or small, stray through their minds, they’ll still go on flying just the same without knowing where or why. They fly and will continue to fly, however philosophic they may become; and it doesn’t matter how philosophical they are so long as they go on flying. . . .
MASHA. But still, isn’t there a meaning?
TUZENBAKH. Meaning. . . . Here it’s snowing. What meaning is there in that? [A pause.]
The full play is here.
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