JBelle and I were driving home on July 5 from her staying with my parents on July 4, which was a Wednesday. Wednesday evening is a time we usually gather with our church. Here is a brief conversation that we had:
JBelle: “Daddy, we missed church last night.”
Me: “Well, it was cancelled for the holiday because it is one of those family times for which the elders cancel church.”
JBelle: “Like what family times?”
Me: “Like 4th of July and Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.”
JBelle: “Do they cancel church for Chanukah?”
Me: “Mmm, I don’t think so.”
JBelle: “Yeah, I guess there really isn’t anybody at our church who is Jewish.”
Me: “Yeah, probably not too many.”
Funny story, but it demonstrates a small bit of what we are trying to teach our children about religion and honoring God. While we are Christian and we honor God as we understand from a Christian perspective. We can not deny that there are others in the world that honor God (the same God) in different ways: whether it is by a special headcovering or prescribed prayer or any number of ways to demonstrate a love for God and your neighbor.
Frankly, I am glad that she doesn’t know the difference between Christian and Jewish practice. Each in their own imperfect way is intended to honor God. Religions for too long have been focused on what makes them distinctive, unique and different and how the “other” is wrong and going to burn in the fiery pit or be eternally damned for not sharing the same beliefs. But each has practices that honor God and call for hospitality and love for others. I say we focus on those lovely and honorable things for a while and put aside the differences. Let those that observe religious people know we are hmm-hmm by our love.