Jeff and Peter went together about as well as wine and Twinkies, but they were next door neighbors, and unless one of them moved, there was no helping it.
The former was weeding the flowerbed in his backyard for the umpteenth time when the latter called out over the fence. “I’m having a Bible study over at the clubhouse next Sunday afternoon. I think you’d find it interesting.
It wasn’t that Jeff wasn’t a Christian, but he wasn’t Catholic or anything near it. “Pretty sure Leah has something planned for that afternoon. Sorry, Peter.” He wasn’t sorry, and he’d have to see if Leah wanted to go out for lunch and maybe a movie that day.
“It’s not like we’re going to sprinkle you with holy water or anything. Look, I’m going to be getting sandwiches and drinks at the drive-thru after services get out at “Sign of the Cross.” Come on, it’ll be fun. I’m sure you have some pretty interesting insights about Jesus.”
“None you’d appreciate, you busybody,” Jeff muttered.
“Never mind. Besides, you know how Leah would feel. That time you talked me into going over to your house to watch ‘Passion of the Christ,’ we didn’t speak for three days.”
“Sorry about that. I had no idea she’d feel so strongly.”
Jeff looked back at the house and hoped his wife was still out shopping so she couldn’t hear the conversation. He stood up and walked over to the fence so he wouldn’t have to yell.
“Look, when we got married, neither of us was religious. Then we found our faith but went in different directions.”
“You mean opposite directions. She’s Jewish and you’re a Christian.”
“I’m a Christian in the sense that I am a disciple of Jesus as the Messiah of God, but there are a lot of differences, such as the whole absolution by Priest thing.”
“It won’t be all Catholics there, Jeff. I’m trying to broaden people’s horizons, that’s all. I’ve even invited a few Evangelicals who believe that dinosaurs, or rather the fossil evidence, was faked by Satan to lure the faithful into sin.”
“I think you’re a nice guy and all, and you let me borrow your power tools, but I’d just as soon keep a low profile.”
“You need fellowship. You haven’t been to a church in years, and you don’t even go to Leah’s synagogue, though I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Thank you for your kind offer. I know you’re concerned, but you’re going to have to let me deal with my faith in my own way.”
“If you say so. Remember, the door’s always open if you change your mind. Anyway. Got to go. The youngest just got her driver’s license and we’re going to look at used cars.”
“Good luck.” Jeff winked hoping it would lighten the tension. Then he went back to weeding.
“What did Peter want?” Leah called from the back patio door.
“Nothing. Just chit-chat. Need help with the groceries?”
“I’ll be fine. You keep on weeding.”
He looked at her baby bump and smiled. “Don’t put too much strain on Junior.”
“I’m not even six months along yet, and my OB said Junior and I are just fine.” She chuckled and went back in the house.
Ten years and three miscarriages, and it looked like this time, Leah would be able to carry to term. His child would be Jewish just like her, and he’d promised that if they ever had kids, that’s how they’d be raised.
He wasn’t going to convert, but he would go to shul and take classes so he could say the Shabbat Kiddush. Peter would never understand. The world, and particularly the Church, has been trying to exterminate Jews and Judaism for centuries, the latest weapons in their arsenal being conversion and assimilation. The line had to be drawn somewhere, and he was going to draw it in his own home.
Messiah is a Jew and in fact, the King of Israel, so how could he mind?
I didn’t see a word count limitation, but the words required for the story are:
Jesus, holy water, drive-thru, Twinkies, wine, dinosaurs, passion, busybody, clubhouse, cross, absolution
I bolded them in the body of my story so they could be easily identified.
My interpretation could be seen as contentious, but it’s one that I (more or less) have lived out, being intermarried.