Thursday night I sat on my best friend’s front porch along with her son, new daughter-in-law, and their twin baby boys. We text all the time, but I haven’t seen my crazy Italian friend in a few months. We have the kind of seasoned relationship that can be picked up at a moments notice and it’s as if we never left off. She lives across the street from her mother, who lives in the same house she grew up in, and both homes were built by her grandfather after coming over from the “old country,” i.e., Italy.
I’ve written about her before, she’s the one whose mom took me to church the first time, and we’ve been friends our whole lives. On occasion we were separated at church for giggling, or mimicking old ladies we thought sang funny, and played cards in chapel while waiting for our big moment to walk the aisle and accept Jesus at church camp. We were the silly girls most people assumed weren’t taking God seriously.
Here’s a picture of her and no, it wasn’t Halloween:
I don’t remember why, but that night the daughter-in-law mentioned that her boss, a Jew, had teased her once saying: “Don’t you know about Jewish holidays?” No, she only knew about Hanukkah.
“You could subscribe to Jewish holidays on your iPhone, and then you’d always know ahead of time.” I offered. She liked the idea.
“And when you go into work tomorrow, be sure to tell him ‘Happy Purim’, and that you’re glad that ‘the holocaust that didn’t happen’, happened!”
They hadn’t heard of Purim, so suddenly I was bombarded with questions.
How do you say that again? “Pure-em? What is that? A holocaust? Huh?”
“It’s in the book of Esther.” I explained the story of King Xerxes, Queen Vashti, Hadassah [Esther] the hidden Jew, her beauty treatments, her courage, her cousin Mordecai, and the evil Haman who erected a gallows to hang Mordecai the Jew on, and set a date to legally “destroy, kill, and exterminate all Jews” in the 127 provinces of Persia.
The next morning my friend texted me. What follows is an edited transcript:
Reading this one today with my coffee…
In case she’s interested in studying further, I mention a popular Christian teacher who is sensitive to Jewish issues (if memory serves):
Oh sweet! You’ll love Esther! If you find a Beth Moore bible study (do u still go to church?) it’s very good…
Yes I go every Sunday and Beth Moore freaks me out LOL. Holly and I went and OMG I pulled a “Church camp” and I got the giggles 😁 thought she was going to die.
Because of her big hair and bangs? Haha, she’s hilarious
…I get the giggles so bad, it’s BAD. I hear she is very good but I have a problem.
And she kept saying SIN SIN SIN and BLESSIN BLESSIN BLESSIN in that accent and I thought I was going to pee my pants
I just left Esther she is going to ask something of the king…I’ll finish later.
Makes me want a jam filled cookie 😜 what are they called?
Hamantashan… I’ll bring u some
Since it was Friday and I was making challah, I made her a loaf and my sweet husband dropped it off along with the cookies.
OMG Thank you and thanks for telling me about Esther, it was so good I LOVE YOU ❤️
I don’t have the space to adequately describe my friend, suffice to say she’s a unique mixture. She has the biggest, most generous heart on the planet, she’s lovable, funny, domestic, hardworking, salt of the earth, and yet… she could make a sailor blush.
Later she texted again. Her daughter-in-law reported in that the boss was happy and impressed that she knew to say “Happy Purim”, and she brought up the book of Esther.
We broke bread and thanked Esther and thought about Hamon hanging 75 feet up in the air and his ten sons…
I have no words… I love that girl. :-)
What blessed me was thinking how they were expressing gratitude (knowing that she wasn’t really praying to Esther) for the Jewish people, on Purim.
That’s kinda beautiful…
I started this blog to record my struggles of coming out of a paradigm that says the church replaced Israel. It’s the world I’ve occupied my whole life with loving, kind, wonderful Christian people who have tender hearts–until the Jews are mentioned, that is, and then a layer of indifference forms. I didn’t get it, and still don’t.
On this blog, as in “real life”, I’ve frustratingly encountered good Christians who deny replacement theology exists, and downplay its disastrous effects on the Jewish people. I’ve also encountered those who wholeheartedly support it, promote it, and teach it, because, after all, “God divorced Israel”, or “They [Jews] had it coming.” But us Christians get no such raw deal, of course. In “our covenant” (which I’ve yet to find) we cannot “blow it”, cannot be punished, and cannot be set aside.
These people can’t see that the Bible teaches no such thing.
So, I thought, how was it that my friend was immune to this?
And then I remembered.
What’s Your Legacy?
My friend’s grandmother (Grandma Rosie) loved the Lord, modeled a godly life, and would call us heathens (while repressing a grin) if we missed going to church on Sundays, and always said with authority: “The Jews are God’s chosen, dear. Don’t mess with the Jews.”
No one ever told my friend the Jews were cut out of their everlasting covenant, so it hadn’t occurred to her.
And that reminded me of another legacy.
Not long ago I saw an interview of Corrie Ten Boom after her release from Ravensbrück concentration camp. It’s widely known that the Ten Booms created a “hiding place” in their home above their watch shop in Holland to hide Jews during WWII, and they were active in the underground to help many others find safety. They were eventually betrayed, however, and the entire family was arrested.
Re-watching this, two things jumped out that I’d forgotten:
She also helped several German soldiers get out of the army, only charging them their uniform. This was how she was able to dress up young men who worked for her in the underground and send them into a Jewish orphanage to steal 100 Jewish babies the very day they were slated for destruction.
Years before, Corrie’s grandfather also lived in the home above the watch shop. Also a faithful Christian, he began a Bible study for his friends, and the purpose was to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the Jewish people.” Every week they gathered together to do so and 100 years later his descendants were arrested for giving refuge to many Jewish people.
When she told this story she did so with joy at the legacy her grandfather left their family that passed to her father and then the next generation, because it was his love of God, and by extension the Jewish people, that made it a “no-brainer” for him to open his home to the Jews, who remained safely hidden when the family was taken away.
When a Christian claims we have repenting to do based on our history of Crusades, pogroms, blood libels, persecution, and overall hatred of the Jews, not to mention Nazi Germany, which was a Christian country (54% Protestant, 40 % Catholic) most say:
“But, those weren’t real Christians.”
Because: Real Christians wouldn’t have participated, or stood by and allowed it to happen. And, just because one claims to be Christian doesn’t mean they are a true follower of his.
We love to lift up Corrie’s story as proof of what real Christians looked like in WWII, as if to nullify the claims of those who cry for repentance.
Yet “Christian” anti-Semitism is on the rise, again. A disgusting display of it just ended in Bethlehem. If Corrie and those like her were Christians, and all those who’ve historically come against the Jewish people weren’t, then perhaps it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff, and call those folks something other than Christians.