Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is There A Single Jewish Person Here?

"Elizabeth, I am heading to Publix to pick up the Seder cookies I signed up to bring tonite."
"Yeah, I gotta go too. I signed up to bring macaroons."
"Hey, I signed up to bring macaroons too. I don't know what they are but Publix has everything. So I might get you a box too because I know how you are going to be short on time tonite." My friend and I laughed because we know it is quite important to bring the food to church that we committed to bring. We hung up and I headed out to Publix.

The reason I was headed to Publix was for our church's Seder Dinner. I was excited to learn about the Jewish tradition of Passover and the Seder Dinner celebration that Jewish families share every year. I heard the symbolism and evidence of Jesus Christ being introduced into what the Pastor referred to as "The Fifth Cup" intrigued me.

However, when I entered the bakery section at my local Publix Supermarket, I was quite surprised to be told that "Kosher" food for Passover would not be available until the next week. In broken English, the Haitian lady pointed me to another table in the middle of the bakery in which she stated, "There are other bakery goods that Jewish people eat." I looked at boxes upon boxes of sugary cookies, bow ties, croissant muffins, merinque cookies. I took a deep breath and knowing the answer asked this dark-skinned well-meaning woman a fifth time, "But how do I know it is Kosher and I can bring to Seder dinner tonite?"

I didn't wait for her to answer. Throwing my hands up in the air, and in an exasperated tone, I loudly growled to no one in particular, "Is there not one Jewish person in this whole Publix who can tell me what I can bring to Seder Dinner tonite?" A woman, the only woman who had been listening to my rant, touched a box in front of her, took a step back and then decidedly dove in to help. She said, "I am Jewish. How can I help you?" I was not surprised actually. My faith dictates that often these types of encounters are part of a divine plan that only the Lord ordains.

This sweet grandmotherly woman agreed with me that nothing on that table was Kosher for Passover. She took control immediately and stated, "There must be a Kosher aisle in this store. Come on honey, we will find it. You will bring something to your Seder Dinner tonite even if it is not macaroons." She touched my arm and steered me to the heart of the store. She interupted a clerk and asked where the Kosher aisle was located. She was on a mission for me - a total stranger - a Gentile no less!

As we were turning down the Kosher aisle, I mentioned I was a Christian and my church was having a Seder Dinner to teach us Gentiles about Jewish tradition. My new friend stopped in her tracks. She planted both feet directly in front of me and asked, "Do you know what Passover is?" I smiled because I did indeed understand Passover was the celebration of the Angel passing over the homes of the Jewish faithful who had painted blood over the lintels of the doors to protect them from death. I also shared that she as a Jew was the chosen one and that I as a Gentile was "grafted in". She was quite pleased with my understanding of Passover.

I was touched by this woman's desire to mentor me in what was appropriate to bring. We decided on a jar of Gefelte fish. I said no to Matza toast - after all everyone would know to bring that! Before I knew it, we were plucking a jar of horseradish off the cooler. I confirmed it was Kosher for Passover and my mentor was pleased that I had made it a point to check for Kosher status. At that point there was not much else to say. I thanked her again. I must have thanked her ten times as I was grateful that she took so much time to teach and share her tradition with me.

I looked at her one last time and I knew it was farewell. I would never see her again. The scavenger hunt was over. Macaroons forgotten. She said to me, "You might come over to the other side. You might become Jewish." Wanting to please her, I did not dive into a salvation message but instead told this kind hearted woman, "You never know - you might see me at  - - at Temple is it?" Grinning from ear to ear, "Yes, yes it is Temple. Maybe I will see you at Temple." I thanked her again and headed to the register. I was still smiling but inside slightly sad.

That wonderful woman knew everything there was to know about Jewish culture, tradition and Old Testament. However, she did not know the Fifth Cup in the Seder Dinner was for available for her to partake of today. Her people still await the return of the Messiah. If only she knew for me to become Jewish was to go backwards but for her to become a Messianic Jew was to have it all!!!

Next blog I will share the Seder Dinner that my church presented that night. It was so amazing to understand the symbolism of the elements and the love for the Word.

When I got home from the store, I called my friend Elizabeth just to let her know I would not be bringing macaroons. I didn't want to let her down! We giggled about my encounter. She told me she had just gotten back from her Publix and she found plenty of macaroons! She had even picked up a box for me.

Needless to say, that night the Gefilte fish remained in my refrigerator. The next day I returned that jar of never-to-be tasted fish. That jar was destined to grace another table for another celebration. Possibly that kind warm and friendly Jewish woman's table or another well-meaning Gentile like myself who had been taught by a loving mentor to properly participate in Passover Kosher-style. It never was about finding macaroons anyway. It was about a Jew and a Gentile enjoying a chance encounter that will stick with both until the Rapture or the last breath either take. I pray this Jewish woman's last words will be "Here I come Jesus my Lord and Saviour". I pray she will embrace Yeshua before it's too late.

No, it never was about the macaroons!!! It was a divine appointment. Happy Passover one and all...
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