Sharing Traditions

Last night we observed a Seder meal at my church.  I am very glad that we celebrate this ancient tradition as we remember our deliverance from the people and things that once enslaved us.  I was very happy when two ladies came in and sat at the table that I shared with several other church members.  I had never met these wonderful women, but their presence was a tremendous blessing.

I served as the leader of the event.  When it came time for our communal prayers, we recited the words in English.  Throughout the evening there were times that I lifted up individual prayers.  I loved being able to offer the sacred words by singing in Hebrew.  Praise be to God for phonetic translations!

Now, back to the most incredible part of the evening.  So, at the time that we ate dinner (thank you to David and Sue) I had a conversation with our two incredible guests.  The older lady’s husband had died exactly two weeks before the meal.  She, being Jewish, was not going to participate in a Seder dinner this year.  It was all just too much for her.

The younger lady is the widow’s next door neighbor.  She encouraged the older woman to attend our Seder meal and told her that she would even take her to the church and participate in the meal with her.  What followed was a wonderful time of fellowship and of making new friends.  The Jewish woman even complimented my Hebrew!  She was grateful to hear the prayers and take part in our wonderful feast.

Today, I am grateful that I serve a church where literally everyone is welcome.  We don’t just speak the words, we walk the walk.  How amazing it is that two different religious traditions can combine and celebrate the Spirit of God in our presence.  There is a power that comes over us as we lay aside our differences to share in this our holiest of seasons.  Praise be to God, who gives us the victory.

Published by joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Belen in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.

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