Arcola United Methodist Church

Coexist: Christianity and Judaism


Hear, O Israel; The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” - Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 

Our Sermon Series on World Religions brings us to the study of Judaism. The Scripture I share above is one that Jews were commanded to keep close to them at all times as they lived out their daily lives in Old Testament times. Each week for worship we have recited a similar passage in the Gospel of Luke (Lk.10: 25-28) in which we continue to be commanded to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. I love to find scripture passages from the Old Testament that connect to the New Testament and the more I study, the more God reveals to me that God has been in the details from the very beginning of time.

It was fascinating last year for me to visit a Jewish synagogue for worship as part of my studies at Wesley Seminary. This particular synagogue describes its environment as one that celebrates a blend of tradition and change. The Torah and readings from the Torah continue to play a major role to their tradition of worship. As I am aware of differences between Christianity and Judaism, on this day I was reminded of some of our similarities. First, I believe as do my Jewish friends that the Old Testament is sacred text inspired by God. Second, we agree that God is the Creator of all things. And third, we agree that the above scripture command to love God with our entire being is of utmost importance.

My big take away from that worship service was in the songs we sang together that expressed the joy of community. Are you surprised? God revealed to me on that day that singing and music is one big connection that all human beings share as universal. It is in singing and music that we are connected to each other as God’s creatures made and designed to worship a loving God who would like us to love with our whole hearts.


Holy God and Creator of us all, in the midst of differences, keep our eyes and hearts open to the ways we can be connected to each other as Your good creation, so that despite differences, we can celebrate community and love. Amen.

Written by Tianna Durbin. Tianna leads in music ministry and worship of Arcola Church. She also attends graduate school at Wesley Theological Seminary and looks forward to finishing her Master’s Degree in the near future. Besides work and school, she and her husband Chris stay busy keeping up with their two teenagers.  



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