When Chris Ogle heard of rocket attacks launched on Israel recently, he considered the fate of messianic Christians he met in December at an underground church there in an embattled Muslim-controlled area.
Often, for a moment, he has been tempted to worry and fall prey to depression. But then, his faith reminds him of something.
“I know that God is still in control there,” the Columbus resident said.
Ogle has organized the sixth annual Night to Honor Israel event at 6 p.m. March 24 at Northview Church in Columbus. He hopes the gathering will include about 100 people from several area churches, including a messianic congregation from Bloomington and Jewish students from Indiana University.
The gathering is a basic way for Christians to show support for Israel, which he sees as a biblical mandate. And it serves as a way for Christians to reach out to Jews while recognizing that the foundational elements of Christianity are Hebraic.
“The threats to the nation of Israel never have gone away,” Ogle said.
He said that, in recent years, among the more publicized threats have been those of Iranian leaders warning that they planned to annihilate Israel. He said he is heartened by the nation’s resiliency through the ages, including its destruction from Rome in 70 A.D. and re-emergence as a state in 1948.
Rabbi Robert Hevia of Bloomington’s messianic Congregation of the One New Man said gatherings such as the local one are significant for Jews.
“When you see Christian churches supporting the Jewish people, you realize they’re seeing the connection between Judaism and Christianity,” Hevia said. “I think it’s very encouraging to the Jews — especially today when you have to consider that we do not have too many friends (on the world political stage).”
He has attended some of the past Night to Honor Israel gatherings Ogle has organized.
“I believe these are moments of solidarity that God has ordained,” Hevia said.
Ogle wants to see more such solidarity.
“We’re hoping to grow this idea here,” Ogle said, adding that he wants to see more pastors join the effort.
He recently spread the word of his event to some 3,000 Jewish students at Indiana University. Last year, several attended the night.
“They seem to love it,” Ogle said, “and they are very thankful.”
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