Jewish and Lutheran

Three colored crosses one behind the other.

The Question

As you all know, I am a pastor in the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (hereafter the LCMS) and a Jewish believer in Jesus. What many may not know is that this dual reality often results in a lot of questions from people. Being a Jewish believer in Jesus is already a place of curiosity for people.

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A man inside a colored light bulb holding his arms wide to represent empowerment.graphic of a page from a calendar.

The day of Pentecost is marked on May 28th this year. This is one of three “let’s go up to Jerusalem” festivals the Lord gave to Israel in Leviticus 23. This initial purpose was to bring up the portion of the wheat harvest to replenish the storehouses for the Priests who ministered on behalf of the rest of Israel. Initially, it was an agricultural festival. Over time, Pentecost (Shavuot – which means weeks) became associated with the giving of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. The day is traditionally celebrated by studying Torah all night (or late into the night), eating dairy products, attending synagogue, reading the Book of Ruth, and abstaining from work.

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A basketball on a blue background.

“Kids…you know I love ‘em!”

On the lighter side this month...

There is a scene from the 60's movie "Bye, Bye Birdie", where Paul Lynde is trying to convince himself that he can cope with his teenagers. I can hear him even now in his whining, nasally voice saying, "Kids, you know I love 'em", then he adds his little he he he, like he's trying to convince himself.

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Prayer in Jewish Life – Part 1

Stained glass mosaic in the shape of a dove holding an olive branch.

In the context of Hebrew prayer, the term "kavannah" (also spelled "kavanah") refers to the intention, focus, or mindfulness that an individual brings to their prayer experience. It is the inner devotion, concentration, and sincerity that one seeks to cultivate during prayer.

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Empathy in Action

Word bubble composed of Christian symbols.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Sometimes in the rush of life or in the process of self-absorption, we fail to do just that.

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