Friday, March 21, 2008

Passing Over Easter

I finished another book from my reading challenge list this morning. Passing Over Easter by Shoshanah Feher was a good book although not quite what I expected. I expected a book that was primarily about the religious and cultural practices of Messianic Jews . Although this subject was touched on briefly, the book was in actuality an ethnographic study of Messianic Jews which compared and contrasted Messianic Jews, traditional Jews, and evangelical Christians. Not having considered those relationships in depth before, it was interesting to realize that there are significant boundaries between Messianic Jews and evangelical Christians which they refer to as Gentile Believers in addition to the expected differences between Messianic and traditional Jews.

My personal experience with Messianic Jews has been extremely minimal although I would love to visit a congregation some time. The Old Testament feasts and festivals and Jewish practices are intriguing and the little bit of reading and study I have done on the topic has enriched my faith quite a bit. This is an area that I would like to learn more about and to incorporate more fully into our family life, yet I'm not quite ready to give up Christmas yet (although we try to scale back). In addition, I think that it would be easier to practice these traditions in community. For example, although I have purchased and read various sources, because these practices are so foreign it would be really helpful to have a mentor who could demonstrate how to do these things. In a similar way, I would love to practice formal morning and evening prayer within our family, but I really feel a need for someone to show me how or at least to see what it looks like in real life. I'm finding myself attracted more and more to a liturgical tradition, but the actual practice is a stumbling block in my current life situation.

On that note, I must confess our observance of Lent was mostly non-existent. We do a pretty good job with Advent, but there is so many external stimuli that feed into that observance. Lent and Easter, except for specials on seafood, doesn't have the same focus. Except for the fairly recent observance of Ash Wednesday at my institution and services during Holy Week, the weeks of Lent pass by without much thought. I just need to plan better and earlier next year and find an accountability partner or family.

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