pam and i were going to go to a yom kippur service tonight at one of the local synagogues. we were really looking forward to it because we are both very interested in the hebrew faith. i have nothing but profound respect for judaism.
we wanted to make sure that it would be okay for us to visit the service, since it is a very important service, and we wanted to find out if there were any customs that we needed to know about before coming to the service. so i called the synagogue.
when i asked if the service was open to the public the secretary said “you mean to … like … non-jews?”
“yep, i’m a gentile”
she said “i’ll have to ask”
so she put me on hold and went to ask. she then came back and said it would be a minute longer. the second time she came back she said it would be okay for us to come to the service but that the ushers would probably have alot of questions for us. i told her that would be fine and then asked if there were any customs that we needed to know about. she told me, “no, but the ushers probably will have alot of questions.”
needless to say i didn’t feel very welcomed.
now i know from my past that this is not true of all synagogues. growing up i had a fair number of jewish friends who took me to synagogue every time i spent the night with them. their synagogue was always open and welcoming. from this i know that this unwelcoming spirit has nothing to do with the jewish faith and everything to do with the people in the building. there are unwelcoming CHRISTians who operate churches that feel just like the synagogue i spoke with.
i just can’t understand why a church that worships the “most high GOD” would not be excited about others joining them. it makes no sense to me that you would not relish the opportunity to share the worship of the “LORD of hosts” with others. yet this synagogue was like this and many CHRISTian churches are like this too. how can we not welcome strangers when we know that they bear the image of our LORD in their flesh?
it scares me to think of the times i have been unwelcoming.