Sunday, January 3, 2010
Over the course of the past year or so (longer for Friend Hubby) we have been on a journey to explore in depth the Hebraic roots of our Christian faith. In our experience, our studying has led us to being more family-centric (not that we weren't already family oriented, as most who know us in the flesh know), but I am a person who likes to be busy. I fill our family calendar up to the max. Over the course of the past few months, we have been making a greater attempt to keep the sabbath. The original sabbath, not the one changed by the early church to distance itself from the Jews who became a most hated people in the early days of the institutionalized Christian church. My daughter loaned me a book to read this weekend called The Fruit of Her Hands by Michele Cameron. There is an exchange in this book between a Jewish young girl and her Christian nursemaid who is about to be married.
I wanted to attend her wedding. But she knit her lips together and would not tell me when it would be.
"But I want to come -- I can walk before you with a basket of spring flowers!"
"Up the aisle in the church, Shira?" she asked, eyebrows raised.
"Why not?" I persisted.
Jeanne sighed. "You would upset everyone, Shira -- I shudder to think what my husband's family would say, seeing a Jew in front of the Holy Mother and her Blessed Son."
While we are very clear that no "act" can purchase our salvation for us, we also believe that the Torah (Old Testament) is an instruction manual. It is a message from our Father teaching us HOW to love Him. As Christians, we have picked over which portions of the Old Testament apply to us. We want to claim all of the "I will"'s without going through the "If you will"'s.
That said, we have begun to embrace and sanctify the sabbath in our home. Because this is not a habit for us yet, every week, we see room for improvement. My goal is to have all the housework and laundry done, be caught up on my lines (I'm a medical transcriptionist), and have a meal prepared for Friday night's dinner, Saturday's breakfast and lunch. After lighting our candles and having our communion meal of challah bread (no it doesn't have to be challah, like I said, we are just learning and trying new things), and grape juice, we have great discussion with our children over the past weeks' Torah portion. A couple of websites we have found helpful in our learning have been
Granted, we do live in America and not Israel, so life does not completely stop for us some Saturdays. Our son is in karate, our daughter works in fast food, and all of our children are in scouting. We are not always able to keep completely still for those 24 hours but we are making as much effort as possible to try!
Each week, I am understanding more fully the phrase, "Shabbat Shalom (sabbath peace)."