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4.12.2006    |    The most important thing?
It's infrequent, but this year Holy Week and the Jewish Passover coincide, with tonight marking the first day, at sundown, of the eight-day celebration. I write "Jewish Passover" since Christians also should know that it is very much also their Passover.

God demonstrated His power by freeing the Israelites, and then, 50 days later (hmmm, another pentecost...) giving them His Torah. We are now the Israelites, and we have inherited Torah for our Messianic Age -- with new revelations of course.

In the United States, many Jews, likely even a majority of those born Jewish do not celebrate their religious heritage. Or know very much about it. In attempting to correct this, some Jewish organizations have engaged in outreach for unlearned and unafiliated Jews: the Creative Seder Initiative (CSI).

This outreach, which is unusual for Jews given our history of persecution and resulting isolation, was written about in today's Washington Post, and, as is usual for the hyper-secular Post, it tread the line between being informative and being patronizing.

One quote stood out:
They want a Seder but don't know how," said Shlomo Perelman, an Orthodox Jew who worries but also operates two large Web sites that sell the trendy items. "But the most important thing is that someone goes to a Seder."
Well, I may not be the best Jew, being a Baptist, but I'd prefer to think that Mr. Perelman has it wrong. He has confused cause and effect. Or, better, the Cause and His effect.

The most important thing can not be any liturgy or ceremony. Regardless of its beauty or Biblical significance. The most important thing, the Alpha, must be faith in God. Absent faith in God, the seder becomes just another meal, if one with a lot of puzzling aspects.

With faith, and the Torah-based Haggadah, the seder becomes a celebration of the certain knowledge that God will save us, and has rescued us from bondage to a secular pharaoh. Jews, and Christians, remain, for the most part, in a modern form of bondage to that which is less than God. A seder should serve as a spiritual two-by-four upside the head.

For Christians, we should know that our Lord's Passion has, like unto the Israelites of old, freed us from our bondage to sin. We have different liturgies, but the essential truth remains: first faith in God; then celebration of His acts of emancipation and salvation.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.