Y'shua | יֵשׁוּעַ
... a light for the revelation of the Gentiles.
And a glory to your people Israel.
Isaiah 49:6 CJB| Luke 2:32 AENT
Shabbat Shuva 5768 -- 5778
“You are a Jew or a Christian – make up your mind!”
Quote: a beloved relative
3 Tishrei 5768 (15 September 2007)
With great hope and a large dose of apprehension I sat on Metro North absentmidedly watching the scenery go by as all the twists and turns of this lifetime journey played out in my memory. Starting with my first memories in the French Sector of Occupied Germany (1952-55); soon to crest in New York City (2007). As we entered Grand Central Station, I made the decision to walk the last 1.5 miles to the Messianic Synagogue on 2 West 64th Street. As the saying goes “the last mile is the longest”.
It all started in Germany when Mom handed me an orange with “ISRAEL” stamped on it. She held it and explained Israel, and connected it to me. Later in America we were in the Church, but wait(!) I hear that word “Israel” again every time they sing the “Song of Simeon1”. Even as a first grader I very vividly remember asking myself “If this guy is supposed to be the the redeemer of the one whole world, why is it split up between “Gentiles and Israel”? …and what does that have to do with me?” Those questions would follow me unanswered for 45 years. What I did learn –as a first grader- was that I was forced to make a choice –forced-. I could believe in this redeemer guy or I could be who I am –a Jew-. So I was allowed apple pie, or ice cream. Make a choice. I spent 45 years trying to figure out how to have ice cream on my apple pie. I wanted to be WHO I AM and believe in this Redeemer Guy. I don’t mean to be flip, but that’s when it all started, when we came to America and I started first grade in Augusta, Georgia. The lifetime of pain that was endured is impossible to explain. Let me detail just two small events out of a lifetime of events.
Please ask me “Where are you from?” My aswer these days is “Everywhere and nowhere”. “And then we moved” is a common line for my life. Anyway, ninth and tenth grades of high school were in Lakewood, New Jersey. One day I mustered the courage to ask a young lady out. She seemd very interested but her response was? “I’ll get back to you tomorrow.” After a long 24 hours, she came up to me with sad eyes and said: “I can’t go out with you because you are not Jewish.” I literally bit my lip as I said: “BUT I AM!”. She never heard me. Case closed.
Moving on two decades and I am looking at clothes in an upscale store in New Haven Connecticut, waiting to meet with one of my clients. Out of the quiet I hear words and look up. There standing about twenty feet away is a woman, looking at me as if waiting for a response. I excused myself saying that I did not understand her as I moved closer. This time looking straight at her, I watched her say the same thing. Perplexed, I responded: “I’m sorry I don’t understand you.” With a flash of indignation, she said as she turned to walk away: “Didn’t they teach you Hebrew.” Every stitch of me slumped as I responded: “No”.
Two semesters as a Lutheran Pre-theological student only deepened the mystery. My questions of “How did we get from Saturday to Sunday?”; the Pastors and Professors refused to answer except: “Read what Luther wrote.” Finally I gave up left the seminary and quit studying. It all culminated in 1999 standing up in the middle of a Lutheran service as I muttered to myself “I don’t believe this Church and there is no god.” At the age of 50 I gave up and for six years was an atheist. But in 2005 YAH answered my prayer, showing me that HE is real. I had my faith back but still - no “apple pie and ice cream”.
Two years later on Monday 10 September 2007, my daughter calls in the middle of my business day asking: “Are we Jewish.” Having given up and accepted “You are a Jew or a Christian” I said “No, we are Christian.” With that she said “OK” and we hung up, perplexing me! I went back to business with no further thought. But Tusday, the same call, the same question, the same answer. Then Wednesday, Thursday, the same. Friday the same call came in and I became irritated. “I have given you the same answer all week.” Then she said: “But Dad, there are Jews here in New York City called “Chosen People” who believe in Jesus. Lighening went through me from head to foot. Literally. I’ve been shocked electrically, and that’s what it felt like head to foot. Without hesitation we made plans to meet in New York City the next day – Shabbat.
As I walked that last mile; as I rode Metro North from New Haven to New York; a lifetime of yearning poured over me. When we sat down in the Synagogue and the service started, every cell of my body was pouring out a lifetime yearning and pain, refilling it with the warm sweet honey of what I was first experiencing. As the service was ending, I walked outside to the corner of 64th Street and Park Ave West. As I looked up into the clear sun drenched sky, the tears of joy flowed freely as a lifetime of pain washed away. I guess I looked dumb! This 58 year old guy standing on the corner in a business suit with tears running down his face. I did not care. Besides this is New York City – you see all kinds of things – nothing unusual.
I went back in a very happy man. I finally know who My God is, who my Messiah is, and WHO I AM. I joined my daughter at the Oneg table and started talking to a man with a big smile wearing a gold star of David. It was then that it started sinking in that I am where I am meant to be and slowly the understanding of who I am started sinking in and still continues. With lunch I had apple pie with ice cream on top.
It’s no coincedence that after a lifetime of searching YAH returned me to HIM on Shabbat Shuva.
If one of yours was scattered to the far end of the sky
…he will go there and get you.
Deuteronomy 30: (CJB)
1.“When the time arrives that all these things have come upon you, both the blessing and the curse which I have presented to you; and you are there among the nations to which Adonai your God has driven you; then, at last, you will start thinking about what has happened to you; 2. and you will return to Adonai your God and pay attention to what he has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today — you and your children, with all your heart and all your being. 3. At that point, Adonai your God will reverse your exile and show you mercy; he will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Adonai your God scattered you. 4. If one of yours was scattered to the far end of the sky, Adonai your God will gather you even from there; he will go there and get you. 5. Adonai your God will bring you back into the land your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; he will make you prosper there, and you will become even more numerous than your ancestors. 6. Then Adonai your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live
Help us to study The Word and be spiritually prepared!
Having eyes to see and ears to hear!
© 2014 - 2018 Edward Karl Schenk. All rights reserved.
Shim’on | שִׁמְעוֹן | Simeon
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