I am thankful for my faith as a Believer. And, no, it has nothing to do with Justin, although we just might have a commonality in terms of faith. But I digress.
Faith is important to me. Well, to everyone really, but many folks don’t see it that way. Yet again, I digress. Today’s focus is a glimpse of how I perceive my faith.
The essential difference between Christianity and Judaism I think it is this: Christians believe The Messiah is come and Jews are still waiting for Him. All subsequent differences follow from this point. Oh, there are myriad misunderstandings and all the bad blood that comes with them. All manner of bad theology to support prejudices and just plain evil (on both sides) as well as polemic stances to combat the bad theology Add a couple of millennia for all this and it’s no wonder, or shouldn’t be anyway, that there are such differences between these faith systems.
Both faith systems have the same set of books at their core: called the “Old Testament” by Believers and TaNaKh by Those Who Wait. Both faiths have a commentary system to explain these books. The former call theirs the “New Testament” and the latter have the Midrash and Talmud. There may be others, but these suffice to illustrate the point.
The so-called New Testament is so called because it explains how the Covenant the Lord made with Himself for His people changed, was made complete/perfect/fulfilled with the Messiah’s arrival, death and resurrection and how that impacts the Believers life. I am no expert by a long shot and wasn’t raised in a Jewish home, so please forgive me if I err, the Midrash is a series of stories used to explain the Scriptures (I often pretend to be a storyteller–so this method resonates with me–and the Messiah often used this method as well) and the Talmud is a now written Oral commentary.
Both of these commentary systems date back thousands of years. And both of them are somewhat polemic, that is, they set out to teach and defend the perspectives to which they hold. After all, we’re talking about understanding the Word of the Most High, right? And rightly understanding what He has specifically told us should be pretty important, right? Lots of differing opinions on how to go about this and the differences have become heated and violent at times over the centuries.
That’s ultimately why, in my VERY humble opinion, there is such a rift between these two faiths. We are both determined to be right. And while I understand the “necessity” of it, it saddens me. It seems to me that we are so much more invested in being right than being related. It also seems to me that the whole of these Scriptures, whatever you want to call them, are all about relationship, either vertically (The Most High and His creation Mankind) or horizontally (one person to another). It is sad that we, I, often forget this tidbit. I can only fall back on the overwhelming abundance of Grace and Blessing with which He continuously showers me.