Ever since St. Paul struggled with conflicted feelings about his own “kindred” (see Romans 9-11) Christians have wrestled with our relationship with the Jewish people. From the sad history of Christian anti-Semitism to improved relations after World War II and especially after Vatican II, right on down to present-day disagreements (or at least tensions) about the situation in Israel-Palestine, it has never been easy.
While Anglicans have never been quite as clear as our Roman Catholic colleagues (for example, in the Vatican II document “Nostra Aetate”) about God’s irrevocable covenant with the Jews, a recent joint declaration by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbis of Israel comes close when it says, of the relationship between Jews and Christians:
“Our relationship is unique, not only historically and culturally but also scripturally, and for both religions, is rooted in the one overarching covenant of God with Abraham to which God remains faithful through all time.” As far as interfaith dialogue is concerned, “Neither evangelism nor conversion has a place amongst the purpose of the dialogue and we emphasize the importance of respect for each other’s faith and of rejecting actions intended to undermine the integrity of the other.”
For myself, I believe that God’s covenant with the Jewish people is irrevocable and that we Christians are best understood as “…a wild olive shoot grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree.” (Romans 11:17). We are not to “boast over the branches” but to “remember that it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”