dark starry night

More Than Two Chances

What does being “contaminated by death,” and a traveling on a “distant road” have to do with us?

These terms point to deeper concepts. A state of disconnection from God is a type of death. A distant road is place where we are far away from who we really are supposed to be. This is something most of us can identify with.

-Kareb Wolfers Rapaport
“Pesach Sheni: The Holiday of Second Chances”

Second chances.

Any person of faith who believes Hashem grants us only two chances in life is sadly delusional. As far as my life goes, I can’t count the number of “chances” God has given me (and is still giving me) to pull my head out of that hole in the ground and get back into the game.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it disheartening to blog in the religious space, particularly in the realm Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots.

While I’ve been told repeatedly that my blog speaks for a certain number of people out there, people like me, non-Jews who have discovered that a particularly Jewish interpretation of the scriptures, of the New Covenant, of God’s intent for not only Israel but the rest of humanity, of the meaning and purpose of Messiah, is the best and most accurate way to understand all of that and who we are because of it, what I write doesn’t speak for a much, much larger segment of both Christianity and Judaism.

I’ve received criticisms and complaints, both on my blog and via email, from mainstream religious Jews, from Messianic Jews, from Messianic Gentiles, from mainstream Christians, and just about anyone and everyone who identifies with what we call Hebrew Roots.

Some of these folks are Internet trolls, but many of them are good, kind, well-meaning people who I’ve managed to inadvertently offend in one way or another.

I’ve stopped going to church, in part, because what I believe and who I am is fundamentally incompatible with traditional Christian theology and doctrine (and not being one who tends to keep his mouth shut when asked for an opinion, I became quite a pain in the neck).

I don’t deliberately stick my nose into online and actual mainstream Jewish venues, already knowing what they would think of someone like me (apart from quoting sources such as Aish).

I have increasingly separated myself from a number of Messianic Jewish organizations for similar reasons.

Only God is silent about what I write. I suspect He’s waiting for me to make up my mind about what I’m supposed to be doing.

So you see, I believe that if people were only given two chances, me included, the vast majority of us would already be toast.

According to Karen Wolfers Rapaport’s article:

Pesach Sheni, the holiday of second chances, reminds us that we can always change our steps and return home.

The question for someone like me is where exactly is “home,” at least in the material sense?

Of course Pesach Sheni has little or nothing to do with me since I’m not Jewish. In any event, its applicability in the current Jewish world is stifled by the absence of the Temple and the Priesthood.

The holiday only tangentially speaks to the non-Jewish world that God offers such “second chances” to us, too, and it begs the question, what do I do with the chance I hold in my hands now? What are you going to do with yours?


5 thoughts on “More Than Two Chances”

  1. I feel the same way you do, no longer going to church for the same reasons. I also think there are many out there that feel the same, they are just not as vocal as you or me.

  2. Since none of us can get through the day without a need for second chances, it is a relief to recall that it is built in even so that those who miss the Passover, can still, if there is a temple, can make their Pesach Sacrifice, and remember the reasons for it.

    The more time one spends in the Tanakh, the more one hears the words…”return to me, and I will return to you.” G-d has a huge heart filled with compassion for His creation, and He knew we would need it. Free will gives a lot of consequences, most of them unintended, and damaging others.

    Speaking out for us…a handful of Gentiles who value Torah…will automatically have unintended consequences, and those who are offended at what you write need not be…you are not attacking anyone, simply airing your views, conclusions and opinions.

    Be glad to be making enough impact on the world that people are objecting to the ideas presented, and are consequently seeing the need to process those ideas, check their Bible, and talk it over with G-d. If your writing were to do nothing else, it would be valuable for that alone.

  3. As for me, your writing helps me better understand many things in my life. Keep speaking and I’ll keep reading.

  4. You are absolutely right, James, our Abba is a God of second chances. We don’t have to go any further than the garden to see that. I personally would not have made it out of my teen years!

    As I’ve learned from my rabbi (Matthew Salathe, who is Jewish), the tabernacle and the sacrificial system speak of an ongoing state of second chances. The people who wanted to worship God, to draw near to Him, were cleansed by their repentance and the blood of the animal, but the second they walked out of the tent? Sin gets on stuff.

    God must be doing something, because I, too, am going through something. For a long time now, there has been a call on my life for discipleship, for writing, and for teaching. I’ve dabbled in that call, but not gone all in as I should.

    So with this second chance, (or 120th?) I am forging forward, trimming in my life those things that are ok for me to do, but distracting from the goal God set before me. I am focusing on being more purposeful with my choices, more organized with my time, and remaining focused on call. My job is very demanding, but I’ve discovered no one will die, the world will not end if People magazine is not in the exact spot at the exact time. Not that I am not doing my job 100%, but it’s not my calling, so the extra energy I used to put in needs to shift to the call.

    Recently, I’ve been quiet on my blog. It’s been a time of honing in on skills I need to move forward in getting the message out that Jesus is Jewish, Israel is important, and the totality of God’s word still stands. I got so caught up in the Messianic movement that I neglected the call to the Gentile church. God reminded me in Elijah’s cave of what He called me to do.

    Who am I to argue with the Most High?

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