My entire world was shaken to its core during a trip to Europe in the spring of 2017. As a result, I began to write what has become a seminar called, “Repairing the Breach, the Untold Story.”
Even though I had been to both Germany and Rome before, I sensed that God wanted to do something in my heart while I was in Germany. On my previous trip to Germany the horrors of the Holocaust seemed very far away, but that was not to be on this trip. The Holocaust wasn’t what was confronting me, but the intensity of anti-Semitism that led to it.
Suddenly I was confronted with my heritage, culture, and ethnicity – a deep seated crisis of identity.
I thought that the issue of identity had been dealt with over 15 years ago when God convicted me that my identity had to be completely and utterly IN CHRIST. Everything, and He meant everything, was secondary. Yes, I am Jewish but that was secondary to my identity in and with Him.
But, while standing outside the church where Martin Luther preached, and looking at a sculpture in its eaves I doubled over in pain and nausea. I felt but couldn’t put words to the feelings.
There was the Judensau, an anti-Semitic style of folk art from the 12th century which depicts Jewish men and children doing obscene sexual acts to a female pig.
In 1543 Rev. Luther wrote a book that referred to the sculpture:
“Here in Wittenberg, in our parish church, there is a sow carved into the stone under which lie young pigs and Jews who are sucking; behind the sow stands a rabbi who is lifting up the right leg of the sow, raises behind the sow, bows down and looks with great effort into the Talmud under the sow, as if he wanted to read and see something most difficult and exceptional; no doubt they gained their Shem Hamphoras [name of God] from that place.”
What made the experience worse was that the church bookstore sold a postcard with the picture of that sculpture! I couldn’t imagine sending or receiving such a souvenir.
Fortunately, there is a movement to remove the sculpture, but to date the efforts have been futile.
Within a week I was confronted once again, this time in the halls of the Jewish Museum in Rome, Italy…just a few blocks from the Vatican. On the walls were Papal edicts going back centuries … like this one:
“Since it is absurd and utterly inconvenient that the Jews, who through their own fault were condemned by God to eternal slavery… Jews must not live near Christians.“
The edict revoked all the rights of the Jewish community and renewed anti-Jewish legislation. Basically the Jews were subjected to various degradations and restrictions on their personal freedom.
I ran from the building unable to control my emotions or the shaking of my body.
- I had a sudden hatred for everything “the Church” represented!
- I wanted to rip off the cross that I had just started to wear.
In a flash I saw myself for the past 30 years walking down a road, but now saw that this road had a split…with two parallel roads. Suddenly I questioned if I were on the wrong side. Sure the road I was on was a bit strange but I had ignored the discomfort. Now I just wanted to be on the other side, a more familiar side.
Quietly and gently the Holy Spirit whispered, “put your eyes on Jesus, not on the church.’‘
In that one second I understood the Jewish angst, created from 2000+ years of anti-Semitism, especially when it came from those who claimed to be lovers and followers of the God of Israel and His Messiah.
I was experiencing in a visceral way what the Jewish people have felt for thousands of years. More to the point, what the Jewish followers of Jesus have felt for the past 2000 years.
We have a problem…we are NOT one. There seems to be two roads: one for Jewish and the other for Gentile followers of Christ.
This is completely contrary to what Jesus prayed:
Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
His blood was shed to break down the wall of enmity…a wall that still stands, impossible to climb!
We have been trying to build our church on the foundation of the Hebrew prophets and Apostles, but there is a breach in that foundation. A breach that started in the first century. It started when unbelieving Jews turned against Jewish followers of Christ, then the Jewish Believers turned against the new Gentile converts, but finally the new Gentile church turned against all Jews…Believers and non-Believers.
That breach is preventing the Church from being all that Christ created her to be:
- We’re not moving in the fullness of His blessings, power or authority.
- We’re not seeing the fruits of our efforts.
- We’re not the manifold witness of the mystery of God.
- We’re not provoking the Jews to jealousy.
And worst of all, we’re breaking the heart of God.
I knew I had to go back to the root cause of this breach and travel on a most difficult journey; I needed to find God’s solution to make the two one…
And the good news is that we have the privilege and responsibility to be repairers of the breach (Isaiah 58:12)
Hence, the Repairing the Breach – The Untold Story.