Friday, April 2, 2010

Spelling it out

I have lived as a working volunteer with a wonderful monastic community of contemplative Protestant nuns in Switzerland. During my years with the sisters I have lived their heavy and solemn feeling during the liturgies of Good Friday.
Still . . . what is a blogging Jew to post on Good Friday?
Relations have improved in our times, and thank God for the State of Israel.
Historically, however, Holy Week has been a dangerous time for us.

One knight in the First Crusade (1096) wrote, "Behold we journey a long way to seek the idolatrous shrine and to take vengeance upon the Muslims. But here are the Jews dwelling among us, whose ancestors killed him and crucified him groundlessly. Let us take vengeance first upon them. Let us wipe them out as a nation."
These Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land did indeed slaughter entire Jewish communities in Rhineland cities.

Deicide was not the only charge. As recently as the early 20th century, pogroms erupted during Holy Week in Eastern European and Russia when rumors spread about Jewish "crimes." Inflamed by outlandish accusations such as the claim that Jews killed Christian children and used their blood to make matsa for Passover, unruly gangs searched out Jews to kill and maim.

Two crucifixes that I will never forget are NOT IN ISRAEL but in the Czech Republic.
This famous statue on the bridge in Prague is topped by Hebrew (!) letters spelling "Kadosh kadosh kadosh Adonai tsevaot," -- "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts."
(Well, this photo is from my second visit in 2006. By then someone had thankfully removed one and a half letters from the name of God, making it no longer his name.)
I was even more shocked when we found the explanation in the Jewish museum:
A long time ago some Jew was falsely accused of writing something wrong in a letter. He was arrested and as a punishment was made to pay for these gold Hebrew letters on the crucifix.
Normally the sign says INRI.
But not in the medieval cathedral of Nymburk in central Bohemia.
There it was spelled out quite clearly: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
And the blood drips.
Yes, Good Friday is a difficult day for both Christians and Jews.


Fernando pannone Pessoa said...

Buon venerdi? Santo.... da Fernando.

Leif Hagen said...

It's cloudy and grey and rain is likely today in Eagan on this Good Friday. I'm still hoping to participate in the 10 AM cross walk and take a few photos.

Adira said...

Great pictures & reflections.

As a Christian, my heart is heavy that Christians did such things to the Jews. There is no way I can make up for it. I can ask for forgiveness and apologize.

What they did was un-Biblical and against what Christ taught. Christ forgave everyone who was involved with His Crucifixion. He forgave all of us from the cross.

There was never a Biblical mandate to persecute anyone as 'Christ Killers'. It's against everything Christ preached and shows an ignorance of Christian Scripture.

If they had bothered to read Christian Scriptures they would have discovered that ALL of us made Christ's death necessary and we ALL killed him - or caused Him to be killed.

I can state that *I* caused Christ's death and back up this assertion with Scripture. I meditate upon *MY* part in Christ's Death on Good Friday.

Christ came to die. It was God's will.

One of the worst things to ever happen to Christianity was to be made a state religion. Anyone desiring power and influence had to be a Christian. It weakened the Church and turned the Church towards the state more than it did towards God.

Rafael said...

i just hate to even think that cristians can do such things to jews, it's like, we're all human, why harm each other?!

bennie and patsy said...

I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

crederae said...

Isn't it wonderful beautiful Dina- all your volunteering with the protestant nuns. I admire your flexibility in religions.

I mourn the suffering of the jews and actually Dina, christ's crucifixion can take on a universal theme to represent all suffering on earth and all victims.

Religious wars are so outside of the realm of religion.All violence is outside of the realm of religion.It is up to every individual to exclude them.

There is so much violence itself even in the bible that must be excluded if the bible can be a true salvation.WE can't blindly accept doctrines- that is the ultimate crucifixion!

Thanks so much Dina for your messages from the holy land.

I hear the muted shrieks of all victims of war and injustice from time immemorial and a zillion good fridays draped in blue wont wash away the sin.

peace be with you.

James said...

The crucifixes are amazing and very moving. Also thank you for the wonderul wishes that you left in your comment.

My other post might look familiar to you. :) Click here.

Pietro said...

Nice pictures of the crucifixes which reminds me of the Calvaires in Bretagne.
I'm always moved to tears when I think that the sacrifice of Jesus was for the whole mankind: he loves each of us, without exception.

VP said...

I know the first and his sad story and about the second all that I can say is that this is exactly what I was told as a kid at catechism...

moneythoughts said...

You took on a difficult subject with this post, and I believe you handled it remarkably well. European history is filled with examples of persecutions, and not all of them are directed against just Jews. Men from many periods have twisted scripture to foment distrust and hate for political gain. Civility and respect are so very important along with understanding and compassion. Those of us that strive for peace are not alone, but there is never enough of us as our ranks are never filled.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for being such an eloquent living witness to the truth of anti-semitism. Too many indulge it unthinkingly (or hypocritically) by ignoring the trauma of the Jewish people and blaming EVERY wrong in the Middle East, indeed the world, on the only people who are expected to behave as angels in a world that routinely behaves quite differently.

Bless you always. I'm blessed to call you my friend and sister, Dina

Dina said...

My dear friends, this shared out-pouring of yours is very moving. Thank you for making this a true dialogue.

Virginia said...

It is indeed but thankfully we can walk side by side and respect each other's beliefs. Thank you Dina for these wonderful posts. Bless you dear new my friend.

katney said...

Your words give us a lot to think about on this Good Friday.

Dimple said...

I also apologize with Adira and ask forgiveness for the crimes committed against the Jews in the name of Christ, who was a Jew and was sent to the lost sheep of Israel.

Those who look into Scripture, both in the old and the new testaments, find that it was God's will for Jesus to die as a propitiation for the sins of mankind: He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This was planned by God before Adam fell, because God knew that sin would enter the world and that provision would be needed for its covering.

Jesus died, not on a Friday, but on Passover. He was in the grave three days and three nights according to the sign of the prophet Jonah, and He arose after sunset on the Feast of First Fruits, having triumphed over death. The blood which He shed(and he was much bloodier than depicted on most crucifixes)was the blood which was foreshadowed by the blood of every sacrificial animal required by Torah. Nothing can be added to it to make it more effective, and nothing can be taken from it.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Reader Wil said...

It's a shame to use Jesus name for killing. Jesus loved and healed his people, who were all Jewish. Israel is the first born son of God and will always be and Jesus is a representative of Israel. As soon as there is hatred there is no faith. Satan tries to destroy all love, respect and reconcilliation. He does it in the shape of some so called Christians. Blessed be you, Dina! Thanks for this post.

Sandi said...

It is remarkable to me the shift in Christians' feelings towards these tragedies and the Jewish people. I suppose you could say we've evolved or mankind is less prejudiced these days, that sort of thing. But it is still remarkable. I know so many believers who pray for Israel. I think it is a move of G-d. (Granted, I think everything is a move of I don't usually write it that way, but do it out of respect here.

Hope you are having a good day, Dina! Raining here. But it is refreshing on a hot day like this.