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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...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To the Messianic Jewish Community: What Are We Waiting For?

Some of you may not be surprised that patience has been on my mind lately! I've been particularly struck by the patience God required of Avraham as I reflect on this week's parsha (Lekh Lekha). Avraham was not, by and large, an "arriver." He was constantly on the move, pursuing God's call. He had the requirement to be patient without the luxury of stillness. This is true of all of us. Each of us are waiting for something, some promise to come into fullness...

However, there was something that Avraham did not need to be patient about, and that actually enabled him to be patient about almost everything else:

Responding to God and hearing His voice...

Avraham was in constant relationship with God and responded to Him with urgency.

Unfortunately, I know I am sometimes "patient" with my response and relatioship with God. "I'll pray later...I know I should stop and listen for answers, but I'm busy right now...I'll eventually get to improving on that mitzvah, etc."

It is no wonder that my limited sufferings sometimes feel unbearable: I have a tendancy to set aside for later those the things I have access to right now!

I find this to be true on a communal level also....

Do we have to move slowly out of fear we might become to transformed too quickly?
Do we have to forgo living out of the identity we already have just because we need to patient for it to look how it's supposed to?
Do any of us really know yet how it's supposed to look?

I'm now wondering if we're being patient with the right things. I'm willing to be patient for every Jew in the Messianic community to daven out of a siddur. I'm not so willing to wait on davening with the awareness that in Yeshua we have inherited ALL THINGS, whether we're using siddurim or not.

It will take time for us to fully be the community we want to be, but I wonder if we're accidently opting out of the things we have inherited for the sake of getting to the external more quickly (not that any of us would have ever conciously expressed it that way). The truth is that I don't know. I'm just getting a sinking suspicion that we are in a season to shift our focus to the internal communal awarness of our inheritance so that we are able to pursue our current goals with true patience (as opposed to complacency, which tends to rule often).

I leave the question out there with the hopes of hearing some of your responses:

What are you waiting for...what should we be waiting for?


  1. "in Yeshua we have inherited ALL THINGS"

    Benjamin, can you elaborate on what this should mean for Messianic Jews (and Messianic Judaism in general), practically speaking? How could one opt out of that - is it, whatever it is, not something that will come in full force in the future, with Messiah's coming? How can we claim it now, if we are waiting for it?

  2. Thank you for your question, Gene. I apologize for the long answer :-)

    At least how I understand it is that our inheritance is about connecting to our identity in Yeshua. I think that more often than not the perceived fragility of our identities as Jews who follow Yeshua make us more timid than humble (not speaking about each of us individually, but more as a corporate manifestation). I think when we recognize that our New Covenant testimonies relate over and over our tangible inheritance to heal, resurrect, and live sinless it impacts how we view God, ourselves, and our mission.

    For myself and my local community recognition of our inheritance and identity in Yeshua has been followed with seeing tangible healing. In my personal life it has meant experiences of miracles and hearing God's voice in wildly unimaginable ways. All of this is in the context of a mitzvah centered lifestyle and, just so you know, is largely free of many of the cultural phenomena associated with Christian groups who may experience the same things (not bashing that culture, but it's not ours). I'm talking about people actually experiencing healing after saying the "asher yatzar" b'racha.

    All of this to say that while we are waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom it's also true that we've inherited it now (I don't here much future tense from Yeshua or Rav Shaul on this matter)!

    To walk in the belief of this without fabricating reality actually tends to provoke tangible manifestations. We Messianic Jews have an identity that Rav Shaul describes as life from death! I don't want to live in any other way than as more alive than I've ever been, being transformed into Yeshua's image (2 Cor 3:18).

    When I live out of that identity in Yeshua, I literally do not sin. I only start sinning when I become fearful, ashamed, anxious, etc. When I live out of that identity, I actually see answered prayers because I know that my only purpose is for Messiah and God to be glorified and that means full restoration of Israel to Torah and liberation from pain and darkness for all people. I don't have to wait for that identity. What I do have to wait patiently for is the fruit. I sometimes feel like the current lack of fruit in terms of all we pursue as a community comes when we are losing track of our identity. Once we know who we are, we start thinking less about ourselves and more about our assignment, and our God.

    Practically I think this means encouraging one another to take hold of our identity and assignment as Messianic Jews. It means not asking for open heavens but live knowing they are already opened. I mean actually believing our prayers will be answered and we will bear fruit and grow in all of our endeavors. I don't mean things will happen overnight or immediately (though they sometimes do), but it's better than saying we can say this when we have x, y, and z theology figured out. We still need to figure that out, as well as our halakha, but I think we'll do a better job at that if we talk/live from knowing who we are. I just don't hear it spoken or prayed much in the movement. I also don't mean making up wild outlandish stories and letting our imaginations and expectations pretend things have happened that haven't. I do mean trusting that when we are called the BODY of Mashiach on earth we ought to really own that in our hearts, minds, and actions.

    I'm wondering if I'm totally out there with this being important on a communal level. I currently feel it is. That's why I'm posing the question. I don't have it all figured out, but I want to explore this more. Any thoughts?

  3. Ben - Amen and Amen. I wholeheartedly agree. I think you should expand on this thought and pass out an encouraging pamphlet on this topic to our congregants (or something like that) - just share this important thought!