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ABRAM POLJAK

 

The Jewish Church

(translated by Sue Wiesmann, Jerusalem, 2007)

August 1946

VERLAG DER
JUDENCHRISTLICHEN GEMEINDE

Foreword

This publication contains excerpts from speeches, sermons, articles and letters. The speeches and sermons were given during 1944 and 1945 at conferences and meetings of the London Jewish Christian Church. The articles and letters, from 1940-1944, were written on an island in the Irish Sea (Isle of Man) and behind barbed wire in Canada. They appeared in the Jewish Christian Church's monthly periodicals in London and Koeniz-Bern (Switzerland). These numbers are now out of print.
The collection presented here shows the development, the spirit and the condition of the Jewish Christian Community.

London, August 1946
the author


Content

 

Foreword

4

I.

 

With the Cloud

5

Names

7

From our Community

9

Sabbath-Sunday

10

Prayers of the Jewish Christian Community

11

II.

 

Our program of action

14

0A Milestone

17

The statutes of the Jewish Christian Community

18

 III.

 

Our commission

22

First Fruits

23

Servants of the King

25

Beginning and end

26

Acid Test

27

IV.

 

Leader

29

Development

30

The Measuring Rod

31

 

The Measuring Rod

"Weighed on the scales and found wanting"(Dan. 5:27).

The printing of the JCG Nr. 100 and the tenth anniversary of its existence is cause for great joy - especially if one knows all the problems which had to be overcome on the ten-year path. As much as especially I, the founder of this periodical, am happy and thank God for this, so little can I write my contribution to this anniversary number in a tone of rejoicing. I feel much more that just this milestone on our path calls us to serious self-assessment, self-criticism and self-judgment: anniversary and judgment!
It is true that we have reached a goal and we can book a great success. Only a few persons believed in the chance for existence of this publication, which I founded in May 1935 in Jerusalem, after it re-appeared in Switzerland in August 1937 and following my internment in May 1940, when the whole work threatened to break down. It is true, we have achieved a great victory and attained a goal.
But above this statement hovers a serious question: How was this goal reached? It doesn't matter that one reaches the goal or passes a test, but it depends on how one passes. We cannot, may not and do not wish to be satisfied with the fact that we reached the goal outwardly. We also want to know how we stand inwardly, spiritually.
As the organ of the Jewish Christian movement, this periodical has a prophetic-apostolic task. And as long as the spirit of the old Jewish prophets and apostles cannot be sensed in it - the magnitude of their vision, the depth of their knowledge, the fire of their faith and the purity of their soul - so long it has not reached its inner goal. Then we who are called to work on this paper have more cause for sorrow than joy. We know that we failed; for we know the measuring rod which was laid upon us, the measure of our calling, the measure of God.
This measure now clouds our joy, for it transforms the anniversary day into a judgment day. We stand in judgment and know that we cannot be acquitted. Our failure, our inadequacy is obvious according to the scale in our hand. But whatever the verdict, we will thank God out of the depths of our hearts and in full joy for one thing - and this then transforms the judgment into a joyful celebration - that we know God's scale and that we are judged by him in mercy and directed to a new goal.

"We have this treasure in jars of clay" (2 Cor. 4:7).

The Jewish Christian community of our time is the continuation of the early Jerusalem community. We were called to once again take up the thread of Christ's salvation in Israel and develop it. With Paul, God's grace which appeared in Christ went out to the nations; with us it returns to the Jews. The Jewish Christian Community is the morning star in Israel's heaven, the first sign that the night is drawing to a close and day is breaking - the sign of Christ's imminent return as king of the Jews. We are Christ's heralds in Israel, his messengers and pioneers. Here is our prophetic apostolic task, which this periodical served during the past ten years. It was Christ's voice in Israel - in a clay jar...
Our thoughts and emotions on the occasion of the JCG's tenth anniversary and the publication of its one hundredth edition are very adequately expressed in Paul's words, "We have this treasure in jars of clay." We know the treasure which we are called to carry, but we also see our personal mistakes and weaknesses, the inadequate realization of the task we received. To be sure, we carried the treasure during the past ten years, but in a vessel unworthy of it. We carried it not in a vessel of gold or silver, but of clay...
We must differentiate between the divine treasure and the human vessel. Our calling and our task is great, but we are small. Anyone who confuses the commissioned person with the commission, anyone who idealizes us and imagines in us characteristics we do not posses, anyone who lifts us above ourselves - this person helps neither us nor the work. He contributes to the destruction of the work and to our fall.
As long as we know that we are unworthy of the grace we received from God, that we were chosen not because of our virtues (which we do not have) but because of God's incomprehensible mercy, as long as we know that we carry the treasure in an unworthy clay jar, we will stand securely and be able to carry out our commission - until the end.
The greater our commission, the deeper we must realize that we cannot carry it out in our own
strength. Who are we that we could be capable of this? "Who am I?!" Moses asked when he heard God's voice in the burning bush and received his calling. Solomon said, after he took the throne, "I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties." And Paul said he was "the greatest of all sinners".
"Who am I?" And who are we? Nothing! Whatever is good in us is not our self but God's spirit, Christ in us, his mercy and not our merit, his power and not ours.

"I say, not the Lord!" (1 Cor. 7:12)

If I now look again at the first and all following issues of the JCG, I believe I can see the difference between what "the Lord said" and what was "not the Lord", but myself and my co-workers speaking.
In this paper's ten years some things appeared which should not have. I am sorry for this. I myself forbade the dissemination of several issues. While I was imprisoned in Canada I was told that a government library had demanded and received all issues of the JCG. I replied, "...I would not have given them these old numbers. The first and many other issues are immature. There are many things in them which should not have appeared..."
At the end of this ten-year path I believe I must summarize this periodical as follows:
Much of what appeared in it is good, corresponding to God's will and wisdom - "The Lord said this."
But much was not good and did not correspond to God's will and wisdom, but came from human folly and human self-will - "I say this."
The JCG fulfilled its commission after a fashion. The voice of Christ was made audible again in Israel - but through human, imperfect mediation. The instruments were defective. Thus there was much background noise and the brightest of all pictures, the picture of Christ, was darkened.
We have remained faithful to our calling, we have fulfilled our commission, we have carried the treasure entrusted to us for ten years - but in earthly vessels.
We thank God and we lament to him...
For all the mercy we received, for all the protection, for all the guidance, for all the help in these ten years we thank God!
For all our human insufficiency, all mistakes and weaknesses which we had and still have - for these we lament to God!
At this milestone in our development, looking back and ahead, we have only one desire, only one request, only one prayer: that God would form this periodical according to his will, that his spirit would fill and work through each person called to lead this paper and write for it, so that from now on we may say of each word which appears in the JCG, "The Lord says!"

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