Girl Meets God
A convert from Judaism to Christianity is surprised to find solace among Messianic Jews.
BY: Lauren F. Winner
The service consists mostly of songs, with a little spontaneous prayer thrown in. No one mentions Sukkot. The fact that it is Sukkot doesn't seem part of the service at all.Why bother playing at Judaism
, I wonder, annoyed,if you don't move by the rhythms of the Jewish calendar
The absence of Sukkot is just one of many things that irritates me about the service. The pink satin yarmulkes, straight out of a Reform synagogue in the 1980s, irritate me. The gold-and-magenta banners proclaiming YESHUA irritate me. And the music irritates me. Rather than sing the haunting melodies available to anyone who is casually acquainted with the centuries-old Jewish cantorial tradition, the folks at Brit Hadasha seem content with songs that sound as though they had been lifted from the praise music guide at any nondenominational evangelical church, only Brit Hadasha's songs have a little Hebrew thrown in.
This is how I feel all morning: that Brit Hadasha's Judaism is just raisins added to cake-you notice them, but they don't really change the cake. The structure of the service bears no relation to the Jewish liturgy, and I can't tell if my fellow worshippers think that being Jewish leads them to understand Jesus any differently from Presbyterians down the street. Add Hebrew and Stir. I am bored and show off, screwing my eyes shut when I sing the Hebrew songs so that Steven, and everyone else, will know I don't need to read the transliterations flashed up on the screen in front of us.
Occasionally I offer up a silent prayer that the Holy Spirit will work overtime on my heart and help me stop being judgmental long enough to recognize that these people are worshipping the Risen Lord, but I don't really want God to answer this prayer.
Sukkot comes at the end of the season of repentance, two weeks after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. As part of the work of repentance, Jews say special penitentiary prayers, calledslichot
start at midnight on the Saturday before Rosh Hashanah, because the rabbis knew that the heavens are most open to prayers at midnight.