I don’t know much about Jesus.
That is a massive understatement.
As a little Jewish kid growing up in the 1950’s in Northeast Pennsylvania, I fully knew that, like Santa, like all Christmas festivities, along with magical chocolate Easter bunnies, and the entirety of Christendom, Jesus and the rest of it were clearly not available to bless me, save me, love me, or gift me.
Including and especially Jesus.
GIANT DISCLAIMER: I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies, any slights, any insults I might offer to a Christian reader’s heart. I mean no insult. I hope to examine my limitations as a Jewish Little Kid and as a Jewish Big Kid, in understanding a bit better how I have managed to separate from about 1/3 of the Earth’s population.
I did vaguely know that the Lord Jesus did come from My People. After that, what happened? Were we somehow complicit in killing the Prince of Peace?
I think so, but things get sketchy.
Perhaps my Jewish education, a la Rabbi Milton Richmond, Madison Avenue Temple, Scranton, Pa., did address our Jewish relationship to Jesus. It is highly possible that I wasn’t paying attention, by that point. After years of numbing Sunday school, a traumatic Confirmation year that triggered ongoing terror in my stuttering 9th grade self, as a student of Judaism, I was pretty darn checked out.
Temple gave me a headache.
I mean, literally.
In my memory, pains in my forehead and sinuses seem somehow linked to the disgusting orange drink that came in waxed little-tiny cartons. Given at the end of Sunday class, an ironic reward of sorts, I despised the juice but vigorously slurped it down weekly, adding physical pain to my emotional upheaval.
It was painful being a little stuttering kid.
Anyhoo, I digress:
Fast forward about four decades. My dearest forever-friend, Adam M., interestingly enough married to the best man on the planet, Rabbi Andy K. (I introduced them, hence guaranteeing myself a place in heaven, I am told), shared this story with me.
A Jesus story.
Please understand, Adam, a Jewish man, is recounting this story to me, a Jewish woman. Together we know perhaps a thimble-full of accuracy about Christ, forgive us. Nevertheless, it’s a great story. So here goes, filtered through Jewish sensibilities, a Jesus story:
Jesus has gathered his disciples, readying them all to go out and spread the Gospel.
All are present and ready to give their lives for the Truth.
Jesus is giving his version of a pep talk when a hand is raised. (This probably didn’t happen, quite like that, I am claiming poetic license. Apologies.)
Jesus: “Yes, my son?”.
Disciple: Disciple clears his voice.
“Um, Lord, I have a question.”
Disciple: “What exactly is it that we are teaching?”
Jesus: After a pregnant and grace-filled pause, Jesus says—
“Get there and I’ll tell you.”
I want to know
What’s going to happen
Just show up.
No need to understand
At a time,
Let’s get through.
Be in the moment
As best we can.
And we’ll know
When we get there,
When it’s time.
To be present
Inspiration for the Week
A good friend of mine said, “You are married to sorrow.”
And I looked at him and said, “I am not married to sorrow. I just choose not to look away.”
And I think there is deep beauty in not averting our gaze.
No matter how hard it is, no matter how heartbreaking it can be.
It is about presence.
It is about bearing witness.
I used to think bearing witness was a passive act.
I don’t believe that anymore.
I think that when we are present, when we bear witness, when we do not divert our gaze, something is revealed—the very marrow of life.
A transformation occurs.
Our consciousness shifts.
—Terry Tempest Williams
Author, Environmentalist, Activist
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