On the heels of writing yesterday afternoon’s meditation, I realized this whole “Judaicly aware Gentile on a deserted island in search of God” thing is really quite overblown.
That I have a relationship with God as an individual non-Jew is hardwired into every human being including me. It’s a matter of making teshuvah continually, repeatedly or constantly turning back to God, and then pursuing that relationship in whatever flawed and imperfect way I can, day by day, for the rest of my life.
There’s no complex praxis or ritual involved. We know that the Centurion Cornelius (Acts 10) prayed at the set times of prayer, which likely means he prayed three times a day. He also gave much charity to the Jewish people. His prayers and acts of charity were recognized by God, much as Abraham’s faith in Hashem was considered to him as righteousness.
Having a relationship with God, for anyone, is a matter of allowing your day-to-day life to reflect righteousness and holiness. How? It’s not that complicated. Do good things to other people.
Pick up a piece of litter. Hold a door open for someone trying to enter a building behind you. Be kind to everyone you meet. Give to charity. Volunteer to help others in some capacity, such as at a food bank.
Give thanks to God for all you have, whether in plenty or poverty. Be content with everything that comes to you, for it’s all from the hand of God.
As far as it’s up to you, live at peace with everyone.
Really, if you can’t figure out what you can do to be a good person and a good servant to people in your family, people in your community, and a good servant to God, you haven’t been paying attention to your faith.
This is what I mean about the practices of Messianic Judaism sometimes being a distraction to those non-Jews involved. Admittedly, Hebrew prayers spoken and sung by people who are fluent (and musical) sound incredibly beautiful to me…and are far beyond my linguistic and tonal abilities.
But will God not hear my prayers if they aren’t in Hebrew or if I can’t carry a tune in a paper sack?
Admittedly, many parts of the prayer service and Torah service on Shabbat appeal to me, but let’s face it. I’m not Jewish. As far as I know, there’s no commandment for the goyim to daven in a minyan. If I pray alone, in English, is God going to ignore me? He didn’t ignore Cornelius.
So many “Judaicly aware” Gentiles are worried about how to perform this mitzvah or that, but they are (and I have in the past) making their lives so much more complicated than they have to be.
If you don’t have your hands full just resisting your evil inclination and striving to follow your good inclination, then either you are a bonafide saint or you’re delusional.
But I’ve been casting myself as outside of community, just me, a Bible, and God. What if I should find myself in a church or synagogue (or where ever) on occasion?
No problem. Do what the locals do. Stand up when the congregation stands up, sing when they sing (or sing softly if you have a voice like mine), if some part of the service is in Hebrew and you don’t know Hebrew, don’t say or do anything.
In Sunday school or some other social gathering, be polite and friendly, but don’t offer any opinions or otherwise shoot your big mouth off (this is one of the reasons I don’t belong in community, because I can’t keep my mouth shut).
The principles behind living a life of holiness before God as a Gentile aren’t particularly hard. The only really hard thing is actually living up to that life of holiness. That takes a lifetime of practice, and no one gets to be perfect at it…
…least of all, me.