This blog post was a response to the questions that I asked in my previous blog post. Check it out here: Questions I have: Growing up Messianic part 3
What do people do on Friday nights?
In some ways I could turn this question right back; I mean, what do you do Sunday mornings? But let’s have a (small) history lesson. Messianic churches meet Friday nights or Saturday mornings to keep Sabbath. Sabbath is the Jewish Holy Day/Day of Rest that lasted from Sunset on Friday to Sunset on Saturday. It was commanded by G-d in the only testament to observe the Sabbath by worshiping G-d and resting. Messianic churches continue with this tradition.
On the other hand, the “protestant” church tends to worship on Sunday mornings, although more and more churches are having non-traditional times to meet the needs of their congregations. The tradition of meeting began in the early church after Yeshua/Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. Soon it became a tradition in many places. But the main thing I want to point out is that in the Messiah we have the freedom to worship anytime, anywhere. We are not confined to Sundays or Fridays! In fact, many of the underground church meet on different days to avoid detection, all to worship the same G-d.
Why is bacon so trendy?
Ok, to be honest, I don’t know the answer to this one. Why has society made guacamole and bacon the “in” thing? But the important thing I want to highlight is what the Bible says about this topic:
Romans 14:15–For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.
While I believe we are free to choose to follow kosher rules or not, regardless of the decision an individual makes, we are to respect it. If in their heart a Christian has decided to not eat meat, we are to respect that. In if in their heart a Christian has decided to eat meat, we are to also respect that. Christianity is about loving one another, respecting one another. And later Paul goes on to say:
Romans 14:20-22a–Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and G-d.
(For much more detail go to Romans 14.) If someone has decided to follow the rules laid out in the Old Testament for food and they are your guest, follow their rules. Don’t try and persuade them to eat bacon. I mean, really, in light of the Gospel, eating bacon is a really silly thing to get hung up on.
Why don’t you dance at Church? Aren’t you supposed to be joyous? Where is all your joy?
At this point, I think it is important to mention that the American Church is different than the Universal Church. Many, many non-Messianic churches do practice dancing during services. In America, it is rare to see a church that has anything more than hand-raising.
Like many things in the Western Church, not dancing started with good intentions but had poor outcomes. I think that we can all agree that there is some dancing that is not honoring to G-d. So, the Church outlawed dancing just in case someone would abuse it. This carried over in the Puritans when they first came to America and established the American church. They had strict and legalistic rules about basically everything. From dress to dance, people’s lives were controlled by often non-Biblical rules. That tradition has sadly continued for many Churches in America and other Western countries. I would love to see more churches embrace dancing as something honoring to God. As for me personally, I’m really not good at dancing, but I’ll give it a try!
Why do you only celebrate Christmas and Easter?
For Christmas–I’m not really sure why we celebrate it. Historically, it is likely that Jesus/Yeshua was born in the spring. Most things about Christmas have secual beginnings including the date–December 25th–the winter solstice. In fact, Christmas wasn’t even a holiday until 336 AD. At one point the Puritans even outlawed the practice because of its pagan origins!
And as for Easter–I love what it stands for Jesus/Yeshua’s victory over sin and death! What I can’t stand is the commercial fluff that tends to get lumped in. It’s spring, new life, eggs, baby animals–fine. It is spring after all. But Easter is the celebration of some kind of magical bunny, it is the Victory over sin and death. I have often wanted to grab the person sitting next to me in church and shake them. “Do you not get it? We have victory in Jesus! We are forgiven!” I and a group of people at my church would actually celebrate Passover Easter evening. We prayed for the people who are still opening their doors awaiting a Messiah that has already come. We remembered the history of the people of G-d and celebrated that we were called in Christ/Messiah.
Now that experience is rare. When I was first able to read the Bible for myself (sometime around 8th grade because I have dyslexia), I was astounded on how many amazing feasts and holidays there were recorded. They were vibrant and full of life and I wondered why they are not celebrated often. Sadly, I still don’t have the answer. I would love to celebrate Passover and the Feast of Weeks and so on. Come to Church, there are so many reasons to celebrate the joy that is ours in Christ!
Why are you scared to visit my congregation?
Honestly, it is also the reasons that very few Christians refuse to consider missions as a personal calling–fear of the unknown. We don’t know what to expect. We don’t know if we will look foolish–and we are oh, so afraid of looking foolish. We don’t know if we will be accepted. We don’t know if the service is in English. We don’t know, or we believe misconceptions. No that is not an excuse!
We don’t know what the Messianic church is. Is it a different denomination like Baptist or Evangelical? Is it a different religion such as Catholicism, Judaism, or Islam? To put it simply I believe the Messianic Church is a cultural Church. Most of us go to an American Church. At my church, we also host an Arabic and Chinese service. They are very different than our English services, not because they worship a different G-d or speak a different language, but because they come from a different culture. A church is Sub-Saharan Africa and a Japanese Church look very different, but both worship G-d. Neither is wrong, they are just different from each other.
Why do I get looked at differently when you find out I’m Messianic?
This is the hardest question to answer. It is simply because the Church is made up of broken and sinful people like me. Many people’s hearts are filled with hate and have yet to be transformed by G-d’s love. Even though I’m not Messianic, I have faced more than my fair share of hateful Christians.
But this is what I do know. I John 4:8 says:
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
The only conclusion that I can reasonably come to is that Christians who hate are not real Christians. I have met Christians that hate me because I have dyslexia and other learning disabilities. I have met Christians that question my faith because I study nursing science. And I know Christians that would have you believe I’m evil because I am a single woman pursuing missions.
But I have also met Christians that accept me for who I am. Who love me beyond what I could ever earn. I know Christians that encourage me to continue pursuing nursing and missions. I know Christians that continue following after G-d and will stick with me through thick and thin. The Church, like the members themselves, are broken. It is so easy to focus on all the suffering and wrong that happens at the hands of the Church. It is much harder to focus on the good the church does–that is the real church–the church that deeply loves others.
This blog post was written by Kayla Willson. Check out her blog https://iftoliveischrist.wordpress.com/