What a glorious Passover/Easter season this has been, one beautifully showing me the intertwining of our Jewish and Christian cultures, a time of healing and bridge building.
On Sunday morning as I was listening to Chagigah radio, one of the rabbi guests shared his reflections of Passover as the foretaste of the upcoming lushness of spring, as so beautifully represented by the sensuality of the words of the Song of Songs customarily read during these days. Dave Nichol’s reading from these passages last Shabbat was just that, beautiful, bringing us to a spiritually uplifting intimacy reflecting our Abba’s magnificent love of us.
As the Chagigah radio show continued, it then highlighted the song “Day by Day” from the 1971 Broadway play “Godspell” based on parables from the Book of Matthew. I love when Jewish audiences are exposed to Yeshua centered messages, when the two worlds can comfortably interchange. The music of this song was written by a Jewish composer Steven Schwartz so it met the show’s criteria. Its lyrics, however, are actually attributed to a 13th century Catholic saint Richard of Chichester. The version in “Godspell” follows the Anglican adaptation of the original prayer:
“Day by Day
Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by Day.”
How I was kvelling as a Messianic Jew listening to this Jewish radio show playing a song with these words during these holy days from a play based on the Gospel of Matthew. Truly God at work.
Yesterday our Bible study group participated in a sedar led by my cousin, the same one who narrowly escaped death a couple years ago through her miraculous recovery after stem cell transplant complications. What a beautiful experience, a traditional Jewish sedar, and then others in the group sharing their traditions for Easter. The one that struck me as most interesting was the Ukranian Catholic attendee whose traditions included so many that were the same as our Jewish ones! Her family has no Jewish lineage, yet by being in proximity with Eastern European Jewish neighbors, the cross cultural traditions developed over centuries. A lesson of love of neighbor that is so healing in today’s divisive world. . .
I have been at sedars where those who attended did so in love for others and tradition but personally felt the whole story of the Exodus was a fairy tale. This position is based on their asserting that there is no archaeological evidence for the story. I’m in no intellectual position to refute every point of this position. I can only say that we, mankind, are only beginning to discover the evidences of the truths of antiquity still not yet unearthed. I am grateful for faith in what may still be unseen and a mystery and live in anticipation of each discovery to come for yet another experience of, “Oh Wow!”.
What a beautiful season of freedom – freedom to not be tied to old, misplaced beliefs and stereotypes, freedom to learn anew, freedom to stay grounded in our faith, freedom to explore new truths, freedom to experience our common stories, and yet, retain our individual identities, our individual walks of faith. Freedom to enter anew, even more deeply in our relationship with the Holy One, our Abba, our Yeshua, who was freed from death to free us all.