Have you ever felt “fed up?” Like you couldn’t go any further?!!
Because I state it pretty regularly, I get frustrated with “religiousness,” ….. especially when it puts rules over people. And in that realm, I carry certain prejudices. I know that they are not “like Jesus,” so I try to recognize them and then halt them. But sometimes it isn’t easy.
I was on leg two of my four-leg journey to Uganda, and I saw in the distance Diet Ginger Ale! I took on drinking water for Lent so a soda of any sort looks phenomenal! Plus, seven-hour plane rides aren’t my favorite thing, so I wanted a “treat” for the journey!
The problem was I only had 20 min before boarding. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?
In front of me were some men from the Hasidic Jew community. And they, too, wanted a Diet Ginger Ale. The problem was it was a kiosk, and their payment method was one coin at a time.
Think sloth scene from Zootopia!
I’m not exaggerating; it took them ten minutes of getting coin after coin out of their bag to pay (think Target grocery bag.)
I was so frustrated. If it had been anyone else, I would’ve been excited that they could learn to use a kiosk and experience that! But not these guys because of my bias!
“The Hasidim are, first of all, Orthodox Jews. They believe that the Torah, the five books of Moses, is the literal word of God and that carrying out this word gives meaning and purpose to life. For Orthodox Jews, this means following the 613 commandments (mitzvot) found in the Torah that are still practicable. These positive and negative commandments govern ritual and ethical obligations and concern the Jew’s relationship with God, other people, and animals. The mitzvot include everything from giving charity to not mixing wool and linen, keeping the kosher dietary laws, refraining from work on the Sabbath, and following the laws regulating sexual behavior, to studying the Torah and loving and fearing God. Orthodox women in particular, are charged with a religious obligation to raise children and are “exempt” from all commandments that are considered “time-bound,” i.e., those that must be performed at a certain time. These include the obligation to study Torah and to attend daily prayer services. Men and women thus have considerably different experiences of spirituality and daily tasks. Most observers would not dispute that the Hasidim live in a traditionally patriarchal system.“ (PBS.com)
After having my internal debate about my icky feelings and thoughts, I remembered the passage we are looking at in tomorrow’s worship.
It’s a time when Jesus got “fed up.” He was tired and stressed and wanted people to leave him alone. He was downright rude to a lady who needed healing. And then God got his attention, and his whole outlook changed.
Later as we were boarding the next flight, I saw my Ginger Ale friends again. This time they were studying their scriptures. Reciting them, and clearly in a spiritual place.
My boundaries need to stretch to give grace to people who don’t see God the way I do, even if that means it is a society where women have little to no voice.
We will talk about that in worship tomorrow, and I’ll be manning the chat room from Kampala! I hope you’ll join in and worship with me!