See my prior post for how the conversation landed here.
“I have a diagram for you,” I said to Ruth in 9a.
The light was dim in the cabin as the pilot announced our initial descent into St. Louis.
“Okay,” Ruth nodded.
“Here’s Judaism.” I drew a vertical line in the air, top to bottom. “And here’s an off-shoot.” Now the line had become an h.
I continued: “This is how we normally think about Judaism and Christianity. Judaism is the straight line, Christianity the off-shoot.”
“But what if it’s the other way around?” I continued to mime. “What if Christianity is the true Judaism and the off-shoot is simply a hold-over from the past?” *
Ruth regarded me for a moment without speaking. For the first time in an hour I was aware of the low rumble of jet propulsion. Finally I offered gently, “Am I pushing you too hard?”
“Not at all. I want to think about these matters. Maybe you should come and talk to students at Wash U sometime.”
“Just invite me. I come cheap.”
She grinned and we talked more about her campus.
The big Delta plane was barreling down through banks of dense clouds. Sensing the Spirit, I asked Ruth if I could put one final idea on the table. One I rarely use. She agreed without hesitation.
I said carefully, “Perhaps God placed me here to talk with you on this flight.”
“You’re actually the second InterVarsity person I talked with today,” she responded.
I laughed. “Maybe the Lord is trying to get your attention. Anyway, I don’t want to get a messiah complex here. I don’t normally tell people that God placed me in their life.”
“It’s okay. I know what you’re saying.”
We deplaned and walked up the jet bridge together. In the terminal there was a brief handshake as I gave her my card but didn’t ask for her info. “Email me if you wish,” I said lightly.
“Enjoy St. Louis.”
It was over. I kept my distance as we wound through the terminal.
Lord, would you touch the heart of Ruth in 9a.
* See Rabbi Michael Hilton and Father Gordian Marshall, The Gospels and Rabbinic Judaism: A Study Guide (SCM Press, London, 1988), pp. 115-17.
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