I was at the Detroit airport getting ready to go to a youth conference out in the East Coast. As I was sitting at the gate, waiting for my flight to take off, I noticed that there was a large number of young Jewish boys waiting for the same plane. Without knowing all the details, I could tell that it was some sort of camp or “retreat.”
I was struck by their boldness. They were all wearing their yarmulkas and they pulled out their prayer books to pray right there in the airport. Even as the time of departure got closer, they began to sing a Hebrew song, not really caring about what people would think or say.
I ended up striking up a conversation with one of the students (he was fascinated with several of the technological gadgets I had… I guess God can redeem anything… ha!). I found out that they were just coming back from a one month camp in northern Michigan. It was a camp that was started with the vision of teaching young Jewish boys to retain their culture, heritage and learn from the Torah.
The passage in Dt 6:4-7 came to my mind, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Then, I started to think about how there are many Muslims camps and retreats where they train up their next generation of people. As Christians are we any different? Don’t we have all these retreats and camps in August? Don’t we try to indoctrinate the next generation with the teachings of Christ?
For a moment, I got a bit saddened about this whole retreat process. It is sad that so many young people get trained to think and act a certain way, regardless if it is the truth or not. Is this how many of the other religious groups and pre-Christians think about us?
The Jewish boys in the airport humbled me with their fervor and boldness in being Jews. I am wondering what would happen if more Christians were that bold and passionate. Would people see our love for Christ, if they just saw us?
“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” by St. Francis of Assisi