“O Praise the Lord all you nations; Praise Him, all you peoples. For his lovingkindness is great towards us; and the truth of the Lord endures forever, Hallelujah!” (Psalm 117:1-2)
The Center for Jewish and Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) has launched a bold initiative calling for a day of praise of God’s name around the world.
Coinciding with Israel’s Independence Day on April 23, the “Day to Praise” calls on Jews and Christians around the world to recite Psalms 113-118 in celebration of God’s covenantal love for the Jewish nation.
The CJCUC is holding this worldwide praise initiative as part of its larger mission of bridging the relationship between Jews and Christians.
The organization is founded on the proposition that each of the two great faith communities is rooted in one shared Bible, which both accept as the eternal and living word of God. They therefore wish to promote a continued theological dialogue. The discourse that the CJCUC hopes to encourage encompasses a mutual and reciprocal respect of both faiths without seeking to convert one another. It also rejects the necessity of one faith compromising their theological truths in deference to the other.
“Day to Praise” was specifically chosen when Israel would be celebrating its 67th Independence Day, a day that represents a truly modern miracle.
“No other explanation in the world can explain the phenomenon of Israel’s existence today except that God continues to be faithful to His covenantal promise made thousands of years ago to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God never regrets of His gifts,” the CJCUC explains.
“The miracle of Israel today should serve as an inspiration to other nations to bless the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob since they can fully comprehend His kindness to the Jewish nation,” reads a statement on the “Day to Praise” website. “The nations of the world have the revealed and hidden historical record of what occurred in the past to eradicate God’s elect. They also know of what is presently transpiring to undermine Israel’s status today. Yet, through it all, the State of Israel continues to be a beacon of light to help the world in all areas of our daily living.”
The prayers selected for the “Day to Praise” initiative comprise what Orthodox Jews designate as the “Hallel” prayer, one of which, Psalm 117, includes the directive to the nations of the world to praise God for his graciousness to all of humankind through his chosen nation.
Psalm 117 calls upon the nations of the world to praise God for His covenantal love for Israel. This Psalm, shortest of all the Psalms, is also one of the most theologically most profound. Chapter 117 includes the teaching that praising the King for what He did, does, and continues to do for Israel is a mission that Israel must share with all nations and ethnics who revere Him.
Executive Director of the CJCUC, David Nekrutman, told Breaking Israel News that “this is an opportunity that we have where the Jewish-Christian dynamic changed. Jews are inviting Christians to come and participate in a Jewish celebration, and not the other way around.”
Nekrutman explained that the reason why these six Psalms of praise were chosen is because “they are ideal passages to jump start a relationship between these two faiths. Jewish history has proven that these Psalms are used to describe extra ordinary acts by God for His people. From the times of the Exodus, the Psalms have been invoked. The Christians who have these Psalms in their Canon can also recognize them as Psalms of praise for God’s extraordinary acts.”
The CJCUC has consistently attempted to bridge the gap between Jews and Christians faiths. One of the more special aspects of the organization, which is headed by Chief Rabbi of Efrat Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, is its gratitude to and appreciation for the overwhelming and heavenly directed love and unity shown to Israel by Bible believing Christians.
“We Jews yearn to share and reciprocate on this great day made by the Lord as we rejoice and are glad, in God, together,” Nekrutman stated.
The CJCUC believes that Christians from around the world have shown a true love and heart for Israel and the Jewish people. Even in the most desperate of times, especially during the last conflict filled year, Christians continued to visit the Holy Land and comfort Zion and her people with prayer, offerings and sincere fellowship.
Now the CJCUC wants to strengthen that relationship even further by officially bringing members of the two faiths together in praise and worship.
By initiating a worldwide prayer vigil, the CJCUC hopes to proclaim the theological and faith areas in which Jews and Christians agree and thereby cement a shared Scripture, faith, and callings. In addition, the organization hopes to build support and maintain focus on the bilateral relationship between worldwide Christian Zionists and Israel.
The CJCUC invites people from all over the world to join together on the 23rd of April to praise and thank God for the gift of the State of Israel in our lifetime.