When this idea entered my head a few months ago, I at first dismissed it at completely insane. Follow Jewish traditions and customs and holidays for a year? Why would a Christian pastor’s family decide to do this? Surely there is no need. Why make life more complicated than it already is? Why do I need to add something else to my already full and overflowing plate? What value does practicing Judaism hold for a Christian family? Hasn’t the law already been fulfilled perfectly in the person of Jesus?
Maybe a little back story will help fill in some of those blanks. I began to practice Shabbat regularly after a trip to Colorado with Soulation, where I was introduced to the Christian practice of Shabbat. What I discovered in my pursuit is that taking a day out of the week to recharge and to rest gives me unbelievable purpose throughout the rest of the week to accomplish the tasks set before me. I discovered the sweetness of building a palace in time to experience a deeper, fuller relationship with God and to have space to hear my own thoughts. And it left me wanting more. I wanted to experience God through the process that he gave his chosen people more than 4000 years ago. I want to gain a deeper, hand-on understanding of the pictures of himself that God has woven into Jewish festivals and Jewish life.
So the more I thought about my insane idea, the more it just made sense. So we will be floundering through this year. I don’t speak Hebrew. Or read it. We are incredibly busy and there will probably be times when we don’t get to celebrate a holiday in its full glory. Our celebrations will be new and unrefined and maybe even awkward, instead of the comfortable familiarity that holidays are normally imbued with. But my hope is that my faith will be deepened. My expectation is that my family will enjoy the adventure. And my prayer is that we will find the shalom that so often eludes this busy American family. Our adventure begins at sundown on September 20. Won’t you join us and follow our progress?