Rabbi Heschel wrote, “In every moment, something sacred is at stake.”
I was raised as a white, evangelical, conservative Republican person, and went through early adult life thusly. The longer I lived, the more disenchanted I became with the shallowness, dogma, and rhetoric of white, evangelical, conservative Republican people and God gave me a hunger for more, much more. I started studying the Bible deeply concerning remarriage, courtship, purity, orphans, widows, the leadership and priesthood of men in the home, discipleship, and more.
All of this, of course, took me back, back, back to the Old Testament, which almost all white, evangelical, conservative Republican churches have thrown out. As my studies in the Old Testament grew, I kept having vague Déjà vu memories of Jewish things. I had idioms, foods, ideas, songs all going around in my head. Where did they come from? Some told me God had given my white, evangelical, conservative Republican self a Jewish heart. I believed that for a long time, and was amazed at how many times God brought Jewish people into my life. I tried hard to make them all white, evangelical, conservative Republican people, until God humbled me and told me I had a lot to learn from them, and that perhaps God wanted me to become a LOT more like the one Jew that I knew the most about, a dark, swarthy, story-telling, obedient minister for His Father and lover of the common man, the hurting, the sinful. Still, there were dots that didn’t connect.
When my brother died almost 6 years ago, a family secret fell out of the closet, literally. My mother got so upset that she yelled at me one night that my father’s ancestors fled from Nazi Germany, came to America, changed their last name, and became Episcopalians. They were: closet Jews, dark, swarthy, short, snorky-nosed Jewish people who sang Hatikvah, ate Jewish foods, and whose talk was peppered with Jewish phrases and idioms. She also let me know that she hated Jews. All Jews.
Wow, that meant she hated ME. I was my father’s daughter. I had Jewish blood. Suddenly, I could literally feel what it was to be the Jewish Messiah, hated by everyone, including His own. The Jewish people, hated by everyone. The verse about having to leave father and mother, to follow a hated Jewish Messiah, became very clear to me. I knew my calling, and it was to follow Him to the ends of the earth.
In lieu of that, I renewed my studies into all things Jewish. I wanted to know of my heritage, which was that which My Lord shared. I became involved with several Messianic groups, where I learned the beauty and goodly heritage that we have in the thousands of years of HIStory between the pages of the Pentateuch through the Prophets.
I was saddened to see how much richness and meaning, all pointing to Yeshua, the Messiah, was lost in the enthrallment of most white, evangelical, conservative Republican people to pagan rituals and practices. Yet, I clung to my old traditions, feeling the loss of them would be too great.
It took my son, Calvin, to prick my soul. “Mom, you know, we are practicing paganism. Why do we do that, now that we are enlightened?” I was struck to the core. He was right. I was holding out. Not wanting to take up the Cross of sacrifice, denying myself, and in my disobedience, was loosing all the blessings that God had in store for me.
So, some years ago, we put aside pagan practices, and embraced biblical traditions, feasts, and holidays. Not because of my ancestral heritage, but due to my love for My Lord and His ways. Today, I do not belong to a Party, to a dogma, or a set of man-made rules, I belong to my Master, Yeshua, Messiah.
So, now you have it! The short story on how I became a Jew. Rejoice with me, as I continue to forage for the richness that is store for me. I pray that you will also find them!