Once again, it has been my good fortune to be considering some work with an organisation that seeks to increase understanding between Christians and Jews. I am glad of the invite.
Until my visit to Jerusalem last October (see my separate, contextual blog), I must confess that my working knowledge of Judaism was text-bookish and informed by some stories that were around 2000 years old. I have since learned a great deal.
Added to this is the fraught issue of Israel and Palestine where lines seem to me at times to be blurred between Jew (religious) and Jew (Israeli), and in some cases there are clear distinctions. I receive regular pieces of correspondence from a Christian Jerusalemite with much to say about the treatment of Christians in Jerusalem and indeed the whole of Palestine. One day I must respond to him, and to challenge much that he says that troubles me.
I am trying hard to piece all of this together. In my heart, I recognise that Jews and Christians share the same root system. We have lots in common, not least of all the great slab of Scripture that we share. Of course, we are different, but so much is similar. Jesus Christ was himself a Jew - and although he taught away from that corpus of Law, was nonetheless, an observant.
There is too, the anti-Semitism that permeated much early Christian thinking. I understand, even if I do not share, the emotions of those who sought to judge the 'murderers of Christ' - ever mindful that the Grand Plan of our salvation demanded that the Jews did exactly what they did. I want to work out how my Christian ancestry and its world-view affect me in my time.
In essence, I am excited about the possibilities for Jewish-Christian relationships. I believe it is one that can be a strong voice against oppression for either community. I have enjoyed worshipping with a Jewish community in Jerusalem. We are, after all, using the same words, about the same God. It seems important to me to have a feel for, a sympathy and understanding for, and dialogue with the Jewish community. I regard them as nothing less than brother and sisters in faith.
I'll keep you all posted!