Daily Office Readings for Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent: Year 1
“Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.” (Romans 2:29)
I’m going to run the risk of offending some of you today. I truly hope that I do not. Some Christians do not like Jews. Such attitudes make me sad. They claim to love the Jew named Jesus, who kept all the Jewish traditions, but at the same time, the same Christians refuse to give his tradition an honest look.
I see Judaism as a faith not a race. I don’t believe in race. Sorry, it’s just me. The Jewish people were the displaced Israelites who escaped bondage under the Pharaoh of Egypt. They were probably mixed with Egyptian blood as well, after all, Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel), married the daughter of an Egyptian and had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. They became Tribes of Israel even though they were half Egyptian. My whole point is that we are what we practice, not who we claim as biological ancestors, but rather, who we claim as our spiritual ancestors. Abraham himself came from the place that is now known as Iraq. So what is being a Jew inwardly as Paul tells us?
Being a Jew at heart for me really means practicing the faith and worship of one God, the Creator of all that is, and lover of life, all life. Further, I see Christianity as a path within Judaism, not a totally different way of honoring God. I am a U.S. Marine (retired) but I don’t get upset when people reference my conection with the U.S. Navy. Marines come under the Department of the Navy. We Christians try to follow Jesus the Jew in all that he commands us.
There is one caution about the word Jew I feel I must remind us. When we read “the Jews” in the Gospel, especially, the Gospel according to John, let us be advised that that the evangelist is really talking about the Temple authorities, not the regular Jewish people. Too many Christians have taken the wrong use of this word to sanction anti-Semitism.
Mad at me yet? I hope not. If we aspire to be a people of love we can’t harbor any hatred or malice towards those who differ from us. We must strive to love all people. Thank You Jesus.
For this evening and tomorrow day my friends; Shabbat Shalom
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John