Saturday, October 12, 2013

Back to Unpacking Luther's Baggage

He heard laughter and small talk as the women came into the living room. There were three possible seats and Rebecca took the one closest to him; which encouraged him. There was no immediate comment, so Heinrich asked, “Rebecca, I am extremely impressed by your knowledge and confidence – how did you come to be this way? I mean, it’s quite rare in today’s world for a woman to be so – so independent.” Rebecca responded with a wry smile which all but melted Heinrich’s heart, “I am an only child and my father obviously lacked a son to teach. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, he went against the norms of the Jewish world and taught me as much as he could, though my mother didn’t agree. After all, teaching a woman how to think doesn’t exactly make for a desirable match, and that was what my mother was concerned about. But he overruled and we studied the Tanakh, Talmud, and other things. When he started to study the New Testament, he didn’t want to get me involved, but it was impossible not to. I became his sounding board as we went over the pros and cons of Yeshua. The Gentile church has certainly made this difficult; it hardly resembles the first century Jewish believers that started it all. But we kept going. My father heard about another Rabbi in Warsaw who was having some of the same questions, and we went to see him. This was the beginning of the secret network that he ended up organizing.”

“I entered the University of Krakow and was in my second year when the trouble for my father began. It interfered with his work, my studies, and our time together. It was only nine months later that he died. So, my time in the University ended like yours – in shattered dreams by the death of my father.” With this thought she looked towards Heinrich, who had an instant connection with this parallel. He latched onto this shared bond with full abandon and the room was silent as they found solace in the fate of each other. It was a moment that sent tingling through his body. His mother and sister saw it as a rare expression of special attachment. It seemed that the two were meant for each other and in fact, their feelings for each other did advance and move into new territory after this point. Sarah broke the spell by asking a question, “How did losing your father affect your social life?” Rebekah began answering Sarah’s question, but rather than listening to the conversation, Heinrich wondered how he would remember Rebekah. If he were an artist, he would draw or paint a picture, but he wasn’t. So he looked at her and tried to memorize her features as she sat there talking with Sarah and his mother. What made her so beautiful? The ideal of the golden proportion was evident in each feature, whether it was her nose, eyes, or ears with her dark flowing hair framing it all. She was just the right height, weight, and shape. But more than that, she was smart, witty, and surprising. My, he was smitten by her. How in the world could he tell her this? Should he?

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