You may have ‘heard’ (as much as you can hear on a computer) me mention that Monday nights Curt and I go to ‘Torah.’ Torah, simply, is the first 5 books of the Bible. You know, the Beginning, the ‘rules,’ the ‘law,’ the books with all those weird parts in them, the books with the famous likes of Moses and Isaac and Joseph and his technicolor dreamcoat…the part that forms the basis of Jewish study and belief. Funny thing is…as a Christian, it’s important to realize that Jesus was Jewish…that he was perfectly Torah-observant…that He followed these commands, that His ministry is directly linked to these 5 books…that everything He said and taught and did is rooted in these first 5 books.
Crazy thing is, modern Christianity scoots away from these books because, well, they can be hard to understand… they’re old… parts of them are very weird (there’s a talking donkey, for Pete’s sake)…and so many of us have grown up only focusing on the New Testament part of the Book and forgetting Act I, if you will. But you have to read Act I and you have to understand it! Well, I suppose you don’t, but so many things make so much more sense when you understand the context…the history…the beginning. It makes the End that much more wonderful.
SO. Monday nights at our church, a bunch of folks meet to study. In Jewish culture, there’s set portion of the Torah you read each week. Then you read the commentary for that portion… written by Jewish Rabbis (teachers) from both before and after Christ lived. Then you discuss and debate it and try to understand it. This is Monday nights for us, with the added commentary from First Fruits of Zion that gives a Messianic (Christian) perspective on the Torah and that particular portion. We’re in Year 2. Each year we read through the whole Torah and traditional commentaries while the FFOZ study guides us through questions (incorporating the New Testament, or Christian side) and the like for each particular week.
Now, before you get all “well, that sounds like a heap of deep studious fun to me, Kate… have fun with that” on me, let me explain that our group of 10 is, um, funny. I would bring any of you there to visit/play in a heartbeat. They’re some of my favorite people on this Earth- all from different backgrounds and educations and churches. This study has literally changed our lives…our perspectives…and that has been good. Very good. We do debate. We do argue. We do study. But, we also play and laugh and make fun of each other relentlessly. We are friends and we are, after almost 3 years together, family. This Saturday, we will gather to see 2 of us married off…Jeff (the wine seller) and Martha (the water meter fixer). Given our newfound understanding and respect for the Torah, they wanted to incorporate some tradition into their wedding. A chuppah (canopy, prayer shawl, tent) has been used for many things over the years…some religious, some a weather covering. It’s a symbol of God’s presence, of the married couple’s new home, of many many things. It’s beautiful. Curt and I offered to be in charge of bringing this symbolism to life. Brilliant.
There are no rules about a chuppah (believe me, I looked). I just made my part up. It’s a tree. I think you can see that. It’s folk-art-ish. It’s not finished. It will be. It measures 4 feet by 7 feet and fits in the top of the chuppah-holder (which is not a correct term, messianically or Jewish-ally). Curt made the frame out of old barn wood. It will later become an open canopy for our small garden. We have not discussed how it will be transported to the park. Brilliant.
So, dance a little this weekend and celebrate a new marriage with us- the start, the wonderfully romantic beginning…you remember what it’s like. I’ll take pictures of everything and everyone all gussied up and beautiful-like. Brilliant.
Loving you all,