Wednesday, June 24, 2020

My Mezuzah


I was born into a Catholic family and my earliest memories of church is of the wonderful liturgy in the faith. There is so much to see when one attends a Catholic mass. From the statues to look at, the stained glass, the stations of the cross, to making the sign of the cross before praying, as well as reciting the responses, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” “The Lord be with you. And also with you. Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give Him thanks and praise.” I enjoyed that.

Unfortunately, I believe the Protestant Reformers occasionally threw the baby out with the bath water when it came to liturgy. Instead of debating each liturgical action on its own biblical and symbolic merits, if it was deemed “too Catholic” it was tossed out. 

For instance, I am a visual person, and I like the priest’s preparation of the Eucharist. He takes a cruet with wine in it and pours it into the chalice. He then takes a cruet with water and pours a little into the chalice as well. Do you know why? The wine represents Jesus’ divinity. The water represents His humanity. Jesus was both 100% God and 100% man, so both should be in the chalice. I love that. I think that’s wonderful! I find it meaningful. Alas, it is too Catholic so we Protestants don’t do it. I think that’s too bad. As long as liturgy or the implements used in it, do not become idols, or are thought to have some sort of holy power, any visual aids that help deepen our worship of God, I believe can be a blessing.         

As an example, I recently watched the first season of the series “The Chosen.” This is a crowd-funded series about Jesus you can only access on the internet. It is amazing! I highly recommend it! It is free to watch on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, and if you have a streaming service like Roku or Amazon Fire Stick, you can even connect it to your television, which is what I did. Watch it! You will be blessed!

One of things I noticed while watching was when people entered or left their homes they kissed their fingers and touched their doorframes. It seemed odd, but happened so often I was intrigued. After a little research, I discovered the small case or tube attached to the doorpost they were touching is called a Mezuzah, which literally translates “doorpost.” Inside the Mezuzah is a scroll on which is written in Hebrew two portions of Deuteronomy – 6:4-9 and 11:13-21.  

These verses comprise the Jewish prayer called Shema Yisroel, which begins “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deut. 6:4). The verses that follow are the basis for the practice of hanging the
Mezuzah. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:5-9).

Jews touch their fingers to their lips when they enter or exit and then touch the Mezuzah, thereby “kissing” the Mezuzah and the Word of God it contains to remind them to commit wholeheartedly to God’s commands as well as to teach them to their children. I love that! Although hanging a Mezuzah is a Jewish custom, some Christians have begun displaying the Mezuzah on their doorpost as well, using it as a testimony of their love for God’s Word and as a conversation starter to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Biblically, as long as it is not thought of as a good luck charm or a source of power in itself, there is nothing wrong with hanging a Mezuzah in your home. A Mezuzah can serve to remind a Christian family to love God, teach the Scriptures to their children, and praise the Messiah Jesus for His atoning blood. Subsequently, this Mezuzah will be attached to the doorpost at my home. A reminder to love God, teach the Scriptures, and praise Jesus. Anything that can help deepen our relationship with God, I believe is a blessing.            

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