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I am committed to a life provoking the invasion of The Coming Kingdom through: human service, ecstatic prayer, halakhic observation, community building, nurturing hope, and drawing down abiding faith...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Most Welcome Reminder (adapted from the Set Table)

Messianic Judaism is not the easiest path to take if you’re serious about it. There are constant pressures to throw in the towel, and unfortunately, many of those pressures aren’t even coming from our opponents on the outside. Endless backbiting, backstabbing, militant allegiances to acronyms, and hypersensitivity to doctrinal feuds all pervade our little world. Nevertheless, we’re still being drawn in. Yet we keep going. Why? Because there is love here, there is truth here. We know that behind all the petty childish treatment of one another over important matters, there is a love binding us together if we remember. Rav Shaul reminds us of what is most important:

Brothers and Sisters, I remind you of the
good news which I have preached to you,
in which you stand, and by which you are
being saved, if you hold fast to it, unless
your belief was flawed with frivolity. To you
I handed on, of first importance and
supreme range, the news that I received:
The Mashiah died for our sins according to
the Scriptures, and he was buried and rose
on the third day according to the
Scriptures, and he was seen by Kefa, and
then by the twelve. Later he was seen by
more than five hundred brothers at once, of
whom most of them are still alive, but some
have gone to sleep. And then he was seen
by Yaakov and all the messengers . . . and
whether it was I or other ones we preached
our message and you believed.
1 Corinthians 15:1–7, 15
Restored New Testament and ESV

The most important thing, bar none, is that Messiah died for our sins and left that grave empty after three days. This reality was witnessed by his disciples, and by all of the apostles. This message is “of first importance” (according to most translations) and “of supreme range” (according to Willis Barnstone’s translation). This message is what keeps us standing and is saving us every day. There is no other reason for us to be who we are. I am personally ashamed to realize how little I regularly stand in this reality and allow it to save me each and every day.

How about our community? Do we stand in Yeshua’s triumph over darkness, chaos, and sin? When was the last time we called our minds and hearts to the core of the Besora? How often do we remember that without this there would be no: MJTI, MJRC, MJAA, Tikkun, Fire Ministries, UMJC, etc? I am afraid to say that the answer is probably: not enough.

Brothers and Sisters, we need this reminder. Our community is facing the reality that it might not exist beyond thirty years if we don’t step up. Let us remind one another, and seek to be reminded daily through our Torah, Avodah, and Gemilut Chasidim. We cannot lose sight of the one who is saving us. We need to cultivate lives where we recognize resurrection as our beginning, our end, and everything in between. We are the community of the resurrection. May we press in for this each and every day from now until the day we meet him, and he smiles and says, “Oh Yeah, I know them . . .”

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