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A DISCONCERTING MESSIANIC JEWISH SEDER

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In the spring, Jews celebrate Passover, the commemoration (ritualized in the Seder meal) of Moses' delivering the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage.

 

My sister-in-law asked me last week to attend a church function at which a messianic Jew was to lead a Seder. I was hesitant to accept her invitation because in principle and in my gut, I have always frowned on fellow Jews who have embraced Jesus.  Now of course there is a precedent for Jews to worship Jesus: after all, the original Christians (from the Disciples to the Apostles) were primarily Jews. But it is hard for me, a conventional Jew, to condone a modern-day Jew being devoted to Jesus--considering that for centuries, Christians have demonized and persecuted Jews for not believing in Christ.

 

Nonetheless, I ultimately accepted my sister-in-law's invitation out of deference to my non-Jewish wife, who didn’t want to attend the gathering without me. I did, however, have a caveat. If I became unbearably uncomfortable during the Seder, I had the right to step out of the hall.

 

During the first half of the celebration of Passover, I behaved myself; in fact, I was relieved that the messianic Jew was so unassuming and low keyed. And I was impressed with his ingenuity in finding Christian symbols in the Jewish ceremony. For example, the three separately wrapped matzos (unleavened bread) contained in one basket represent the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

 

But when the Jewish Christian began the second half of the Seder, I was outraged. This renegade Jew had the audacity to implore all of the church members to spread the gospel to their unenlightened Jewish friends. This was the snake-oil proselytizing that I had feared would raise its ugly head. I walked out of the service, my indignation boiling within me. I sat in the lounge, trying to calm myself.

 

After a few minutes, my wife joined me. She said that she too was disturbed by the messianic Jew's inappropriate missionary zeal. I was elated that my wife felt the same way as I did. My wife and I don't always see things from the same perspective. She is more forgiving than I am. But our hearts and minds were united on this issue. For that, I will be forever grateful.



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