In recent months a small group from Covenant has been in regular conversation with our Jewish neighbors, primarily over matters of Israel and Palestine. These conversations are typically vigorous and insightful, and, by God's grace, we always like each other by the end of the evening. At one point it became apparent that our Jewish friends held some concern about our appreciation for their tradition. So, we decided to begin our next conversation with a walk through our sanctuary.
We began on the eastern wall of the nave, where stained glass captures the whole narrative of the Jewish scripture.
The first window on the back right is the creation window, where we can see God the Creator tossing out the sun and the stars with one hand, and with the other, the sea and the fowls of the air.
Step forward a bit and we find the Passover window. The lamb has been slain, the blood is on the lintels of the door, the angel of death passes by. This day of atonement, now called Yom Kippur, is celebrated even to this day.
The top lancet of that window includes the ten commandments, while other windows tell the rest of the story.
It's striking that the faith story of Jewish people is literally built into the walls where we worship. And in a recent passage we studied from Mark (Mark 12:28-31)
Jesus suggests this is as it should be, because at the heart of both traditions is the call to love God and love neighbor. It is sometimes difficult to get past the theoretical "what" and to the practical "how", especially about loving God, as most folks find that elusive. However, it is the most rewarding and important work we can do.