I recently read a fascinating book called Mudhouse Sabbath, by Lauren F. Winner. The author was raised practicing Judaism and converted to Christianity after college. In this book, she examines eleven different aspects of the Jewish faith and things that she has learned as she has transitioned from the faith of her childhood to the saving faith of her own.
As a little background, I know just a little bit about the Jewish practices of the Bible. My family has participated in and even hosted a few Passover Seders during my childhood. We talked about aspects of Judaism in Bible Study Fellowship. And obviously, there are those books of the Bible that are lists and lists of rules and regulations. But in my childhood, I only saw these laws and responsibilities as rules and regulations. “Thank you God that we’re not Jewish,” I would think as we studied Moses. “When can we finally just eat dinner?!” was all I was concerned about as we tediously read through the Seder instruction book. And so I lived until a few months ago.
I stumbled across Lauren’s book while looking for quotes to put on the my church’s Instagram and it sounded very interesting. I like history and I’m a Christian and I really need to work on my spiritual disciplines, so this book should be all around for me! It was, more than I could even imagine. While reading through the eleven topics and learning about so many of the rules Jews live by and holidays they celebrate, their faith became more than rules and regulations. It’s not just about obeying God because He said so, although that is an aspect of it. I learned that underneath the do this and do that, God had things He wanted His chosen people to observe and care for. So He laid out some rules to urge them to a place where they probably wouldn’t have gone themselves. Rules that urge His people to continually seek Him with every breath.
It might seem like a duh moment for many of you, but it was an epiphany for me. I’ve grown up praying and going to church and sporadically reading devotionals. I’ve had my ups and downs with my faith. But God wants to be woven into every thread of my life. I can practice things like hospitality and taking care of my body not because He requires it, but because it brings me closer to Him. It really is a deep thought for me.
I loved reading this book and I highly recommend that you read it as well!