Yonkers, the multi-multi-ethnic extension of the Bronx, seemed, when I was growing up, to harbor some of all peoples in this world.
But it seemed like a regular un-United Nations pit.
Yeah, a clashing pit.
Nobody, it seemed, could get along well with his or her neighbor there for long, especially in the working class parts of Yonkers.
One ethnic group, it seemed, always had a beef against another ethnic group.
I know, I grew up the first twelve years of my life around the Big Apple in Yonkers.
Italians, I learned early, loathed the Irish; the Irish couldn’t abide Russians; Russians disliked Greeks; Greeks couldn’t stand Poles; Poles hated Germans and Germans, it seemed, despised the world.
And on everybody’s list of folks to hate in this pit were Blacks like me.
And never far behind us, it always seemed, were Jews.
Jews were most hated in certain parts of Yonkers.
The way that people in the town generally spoke of Jews, I long naively thought the term Jew was a profane insult.
It was a long time into my post-college days that I stopped fearing I’d be insulting Jewish friends by referring to them as Jews.
Much of all that conflict within me was, of course, instilled throughout my upbringing in Yonkers.
And to this day, I remain certain that if you’d have told me then that our Savior, when He was walking around in the world, was a Jew, I’d have called you crazy.
Remember, as I’ve testified often, I had no Bible exposure then, I shunned religion and I tried not to believe in the inexplicable ways of God.
I likely would have followed my comment on your perceived psychological state with something like: “If there were such a thing as a savior, he would come from a crowd of people who get a lot more worldly respect.”
“Worldly respect.” Put another way, it means approval of man.
Lord, was I wrong; was Yonkers wrong; were and are all of the unbelievers in the world wrong.
Jesus could have been Irish; He could have been African, Italian or Greek.
But God, the Father, has a plan for saving all repentant sinners in the world.
And part of that plan called for Jesus to come with salvation through the bloodline of Abraham, a Jew.
Why through the bloodline of a Jew?
I couldn’t tell you and I don’t believe any other breathing soul can say for certain.
No one can rightly fathom the mind of God.
But over the years, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I’ve developed faith enough to make me blindly believe in the ways of God – even the ones I can’t grasp.
Also because of what I’m learning through that faith, I know that Jesus will save you.
And He’ll do it even if you’re a descendent of a so called low-ranked bloodline from some place across, say, the Yonkers city line.
“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God” (John 13:3).
March 17, 2019