A bit more from Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
There are other things from this book that took my attention - how she read the book of Ruth as an Orthodox Jew and now as a Christian and how the story of Obed plays into Matthew's telling of Jesus' genealogy in that gospel. I reread that part to grasp it all. Really good. But I won't copy it all. Anyone interested can get the book perhaps.
I like how she said she chose Episcopalianism because she liked the liturgy and Tradition and reading the Scriptures through the eyes of the Church. She said this was familiar to her because Jews read the Torah and Writings and Prophets the same way. Jews reading the Bible without the rabbis were "heretics of the first order." (pg.137)
I wanted to share how one girl in the five-and-six-year-old class she taught described communion. How that it was God that the priest poured into the cup. (pg.185)
But I will instead choose two things, resurrection and confession, and leave it at that.
"Judaism taught me daily to expect God to resurrect the dead. True enough, over the centuries the rabbis have debated the details of Jewish afterlife, but it boils down to what you say every day in prayer. ... [In] the middle of Shemoneh Esrei ... is that God 'heals the sick' and 'releases the prisoner' and is 'faithful to raise the dead.'
Easter, it seems to me, is the most profoundly Jewish of all Christian holidays. For a Jew becoming a Christian, bodily resurrection is no surprise. It is what we had been expecting all along." (pg. 193)
And concerning confession.
"Father Peter will grant me absolution, but confession isn't just about absolution. It's not some kind of antinomian free-for-all, where, since we know Christ has already forgiven us, we can just keep sinning. The change, I think, that conversion gradually effects on your heart is this: you come, over some stretched-out time, to want to do the things that God wants you to do, because you want to be close to Him. So the point is not just to be forgiven, it is to be transformed. The religious languages have better words for this than English -- teshuvah in Hebrew, and metanoia in Greek. A complete turning around.
I doubt I will achieve a complete turn around here on Earth. I will always need this ritual of confession, because I will always keep screwing up. And God will somehow keep forgiving me, and pulling me closer to Him. He will, over time, make me sadder and sadder when I spit in His eye. He will make me love Him better. And that might mean, maybe, that I will sin a little bit less." (pg. 212-213)
I like her thoughts on confession and how she explained that one who is drawing closer to God won't want to sin or "spit in His eye." Would you want to spit in your loving mother or father's eye? I get the impression from some that once we know Jesus, we can go on sinning and just say the magic words and he will take away the consequences of our sinful behaviors so good behavior is optional for Christians. Not so. If you really love Jesus, you won't take God's forgiveness lightly. You will recognize those bad deeds hurt Jesus as much as your cheating on your husband would crush him. And if you love your husband, you won't want to hurt him. You won't want to destroy him this way. So why would you love Jesus and then purposefully hurt him?
Any thoughts or comments or impressions that you want to share? Was it a surprise to you to learn Jews also expect God to be "faithful to raise the dead"? What do you think of Lauren's impression that Easter is "the most profoundly Jewish of all Christian holidays"? Would you have guessed this? What do you think of confession to a priest? Why is this important or not important to you? How is being sorry for your sin different from "a complete turning around" concerning them? Or are they the same?