Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Seder

Thursday night I attended my first "Seder" dinner with my boyfriend and his family. I really wasn't sure how to approach this medium-sized, Marriott Hotel ballroom filled with yarmulkes (traditional Jewish skullcap) and "regular people" at first. All I knew was that this Passover-style dinner mimicked a time in the life of my Savior.

We prayed, worshipped, took parsley flakes dipped in salt water and bitter herbs that would put wasabi to shame. Think I'm kidding? You try eating that mushroom-looking explosion of spices. In my feeble mind, the sheer magnitude of what my on-fire mouth was experiencing alone must have meant Jesus meant business.

We then moved on to enjoying an all Kosher meal that consisted of chicken, vegetables, sweet potatoes. Not my usual cup of tea, but I was determined to soak up every bit of this experience because my Jesus had done something very similar. I had spent a good portion of my morning in prayer, asking God to do something in my heart that I had never experienced before.

Jesus, show me. 

We finished dinner and stood up to worship. The first song was in Hebrew and I was lost. Discouraged, I listened and prayed as Jewish hands went into the air.

Jesus, show me. Please.

The song changed to something I knew in english (I can't even remember the name to be honest) and more hands went into the air. The praise in the room swelled and suddenly I felt my heart would burst.

That's when He showed me. 

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." -Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

Sitting in the back of the room, I saw each and every one of the worshipping hands and heads, capped and uncapped. The loudest and most heartfelt praise I had ever experienced was coming from Jews and Gentiles alike, and that is what He wanted to show me.

Ashley, this is why I died. So that you could worship alongside my other children without shame or condemnation. The church is one body, worldwide. It is the essence of who I am. 

Tears fell. How could I have missed it? He brought me there to show me that people from other churches, Jewish people, pastors I've never met before all worship Him the same way I do. The church is supposed to represent the whole body of Christ, even when we don't recognize His skin tone or traditions or language. Sometimes we lose sight of that in the quest to get people saved and raise attendance numbers to that we "outgrow" our spaces. What God showed me was that we have to be praying for the other churches across our city, country, and world. How would the state of Florida, Alabama, California, Tennessee change if we began praying for the churches we drive past on the way to "ours"? My prayer is that I will see another congregation and not think of them as another "body of Christ" but another part of the same body.

Jesus, change my heart. Let me see them like You would: whole and beloved. 

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