June 10 Blog

     The world Jesus grew up in was dominated by the Roman Empire. The Christmas story begins by naming the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, who wanted a census in order to level taxes on the population. Historians tell us that there was a major cleavage between Jews and Gentiles. It is estimated that in a population of 90 million people in the Empire, Jews were around 8% of the population. That calculates to be 7 million Jews.
 
The prejudice ran high between Jews and Gentiles. Jews alienated Gentiles when they refused to:
1. Eat anything but certified kosher food.
2. Go near a Gentile temple.
3. Enter a Gentile home.
4. Drink milk drawn from a cow by a Gentile.
5. Use Gentile drinking cups.
6. Leave a Gentile alone in a Jewish home.
7. Sell cattle to a Gentile.
 
     “Gentiles reacted to such behavior with scorn, ridicule, and reverse discrimination. Anti-Semitism was pervasive. Jews were regarded as a despised minority by most Gentiles.”
 
     We have seen in the past few days what prejudice does to a society. One part of the society lives in privilege and the minority lives in a Ghetto of poverty and despair. The lack of justice perpetuated by the majority on the minority has been criminal. The cry for justice has echoed through the land and I believe it is long overdue. Change is coming if we will work for peace with justice. If we will accept all persons as equals and allow them to a place at the political table.
 
     Jesus preached the golden rule to “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”(Matthew 7:12) This means treating people of color with the same respect that we want to be treated. We need help to accomplish this goal. Look to the one who embraced all people and live like him, Jesus Christ.
 
Missing the St. Paul Community,
Pastor Gene Wells