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TRIP AROUND THE SUN

42 of 52 – Messianic Jews

 

The Visit: Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue – 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.  SD

 

On entering, about 15 minutes early, music was in rehearsal. Best dang Jewish music I’ve ever heard. My thought: “This is going to be fun.” I felt like “Fiddler on the Roof” would start presently. (It’s my favorite story of all time.)

 

At the front, hanging on one of two lecterns, was a small arras declaring, “Jeshua the Messiah” on a beautiful rendition of a scroll. Then some Hebrew characters were below that – still on the scroll – I assume they repeated the same declaration. Then below the scroll, still on the arras, were the words: Kehilat Ariel Messianic Congregation.

 

A much larger arras hung at the back of the stage said, “SHEMA YISRAEL”

A coverlet covered the second lectern – with a beautiful large Star of David.

 

All these “portable” meaningful decorations have a logical purpose. This is a Baptist Church, The First Baptist Church of Clairemont. (I don’t know if it really is the first one in Clairemont or not.) The Messianic Jews use it for the Sabbath Day, then tomorrow, the Baptists will use it for the Lord’s Day.  They share expenses. (Works for me.)

 

Out front are two signs – about the same size.

 

Opening prayer: A few Hebrew words – then “Heavenly Father --- (words similar to our own prayers) --- In the name of our Messiah, Amein.

 

Opening song: Starts quiet and slow - - - then four beats - - - and off we go. Happy and loud and faster and faster – Halleluyah! May we exalt thy name, among the nations proclaim the mighty works you have done – in sending your son. All during this song, people were coming up to join a circle of dancers on the floor in front. Da da da – clap. Da da da – Clap. (The da’s are words I didn’t get – probably Hebrew words.)

 

Then another song was sung in Hebrew. The ring of dancers became larger – people join the ring when they want – including children. One old guy never smiled – others smiled from ear to ear. The joyful feel of it all had me with my eyes moist. At the end there were more than twenty in the ring – and then there was applause from the congregation. The ones in the ring were also applauding – and the old guy who didn’t smile was clapping enthusiastically, and I’ll be danged if he didn’t break into a big old smile that filled up his whole face. (I think he had been concentrating on the steps before.)

 

L-rd Messiah of Israel is He - Restorer of our Nation!

G-d the hope of David now we see - Bringing us salvation!

 

(The words are projected – that’s why I could see the formats G-d and L-rd. They say the words completely and often, but they are not to be written out completely.)

 

Root of Jesse - Lion of Judah,

Judge of Israel - Love that never fails.

 

L’chaim b’Yeshua - Hoo ah hav o-tee,

Hoo oh-haiv o-tee - Halleluyah!

 

(Probably transliteration for Hebrew)

 

Psalm 118: Please L-rd save us.

Please L-rd bring success.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the L-rd.

 

Ana Adonai

Ana Adonai

Ana Adonai, Hoshiana

Baruch haba, B’shem Adonai

 

Many of the songs are in 3/4 time. (Like fast waltzes.)

 

There were three electronic keyboards – a Korg – a Kurtzwell – and a Roland. Electric guitars – two conga drums and a full drum set.

 

Then came the Torah celebration. It was very similar to the ones in both the Reformed Jewish and the Conservative Jewish congregations. First the cabinet is opened – and the ark is removed. (Like an extra fancy golf bag.) This is carried about throughout the congregation with the Torah contained within. Each person touches it with a program – or a book (copy of Torah is most popular) or a handkerchief. This congregation was much larger – perhaps 350 – so it took longer. After about half way through, music started – and clapping in time –

 

Note: I have learned since this visit – that the “golf bag” is not the ark. The ark is the cabinet.

 

Then at the front, the Torah (Here, they pronounced it Torah’ rhyming and as stressed in HooRah’) – was removed from the ark – and opened. The scroll was held up high – opened so we could see the Hebrew characters within. “This is the Torah, which Moses placed before the children of Israel.”

 

(This made me wonder if it is their view that all this first was offered by Moses – and then the Ten Commandments were all that came after their rejection of this. Our view is that Moses received the whole gospel the first time.)

 

Then the Torah was returned first to the ark and then to the cabinet where it is stored right in the middle of the stage – same in all three Jewish meetings.

 

It appears that no matter how many other things are changed with differing formats of Jews, the Torah celebration remains pretty much unchanged.

 

A man makes announcements. I wasn’t sure whether he was a Rabbi or not. He was strangely familiar – voice – mannerisms – face – everything. Where did I know this guy from? I’m trying hard to place him.

 

“Dance class will be at 1:30. Normally in the rec. hall – but that’s being refurbished – so today, it’s outside.” (So this is how they learn all those steps for the circle.)

 

“Feeding the homeless will be Thursday at the Presbyterian Church - - - “

 

Then a blessing was given – first hearing of Jesus rather than Jeshua

 

“May Jeshua, Jesus, our Savior’s blessing be upon you.”

 

Then it all just ended – everyone was visiting – walking about – some going out.

 

Woops – Nope – they’re all coming back. Another Rabbi is to speak.

 

He had come from Israel – had a strong accent – I could not get all the words.

 

“The Rabbi’s are now debating about the building of the temple.” – Then there were some words about what the debate was about – and I couldn’t get much of it. He was talking fast – and of something perhaps about whom the temple was to be built to - ??

 

“Blessed is Israel – even their transgressions help them to learn greatness.”

 

(!!!) Where have we heard this (in different words) before? About free agency – making errors – learning more than we could have from the plan that would not allow error.)

 

“In the end, their obedience will prove best – but even when they sin, there is blessing even in this.”

 

“He tells us to build a temple and that He will dwell in us.”

 

It does not say, “I will dwell in it.”

 

It says, “I will dwell in you.”

 

“The closer we come to G-d, the more danger there is of our becoming idolatrous.”

 

“We try to find the divine by giving Him an Image.”

 

“When man gives G-d an Image, he is becoming idolatrous.”

 

“The worship of G-d is directed by G-d himself.”

 

“When we worship rightfully, it is not humans who try to grasp G-d and pull him down to Earth to be like us.”

 

“But G-d himself shrinks himself to become small to dwell among human beings.”

 

“Idolatry sometimes is done even in the name of G-d.”

 

“When we try to make Him human, we worship an idol, not G-d.”

 

A woman is called forward to talk. It is his wife – and her accent is close to the same.

 

She said to her children, “If war breaks out, here is your mask gas. Here they are in this cabinet. This is how you put them on. (Her voice was a little shaken.) Her young son says back to her, “I might go to the army – I might not come back.” “This,” she said, “was exactly what a mother wants to hear!” There was stifled laughter. “All the suicide bombers – we must only stay close to the L-rd.”

 

“Many brothers and sisters in Israel are away now. I mean away from the L-rd. But in the end, all of Israel will be saved.”

 

(This is what I like to believe also – not because that makes it more likely for me – but because it is a far more loving plan – even for the third who are doing the great job of being the tempters.)

 

“Only when they are comfortable, my children, are sharing their faith.”

 

“We are planning to build a Messianic Synagogue in Israel. We want to reach out to the Israeli society. Many non-believers are subscribing to our magazine.”

 

“My husband is working on his PhD – on Jesus – Jeshua – as Savior – the Messiah of Israel. People at the university are inviting him to speak to other PhD students. It is opening up. He has been working many years on the Hebrew – Greek dictionary.”

 

“Everything we do is by our best conviction – that G-d is wanting us to do it – and that all of you are part of all of this. Thank you for all you do and for being part of it.”

 

Applause.  Husband returns.

 

“To get to the Rabbi in Israel, one must go by – one by one – at least ten guards – to be sure this is one who should approach the Rabbi.”

 

(It appears there are Rabbis – and then The Rabbi – perhaps like we have Elders – and The presiding Elder.)

 

“Regarding these ten guards that one must get past – Sometimes to get close to Jesus – I must pass by a long list of old beliefs. It takes a constant dedication. We are there to open up the way.”

 

“The Jews no longer blame Jesus for everything. He was forgiven about 50 years ago.”

 

(!!!)

 

“Now the Jews blame Paul!” (Laughter)

 

(!!!)

 

“But Paul was as Jew as anyone can be – And he knew who our Messiah was!”

 

“We never know for sure about a prophesy – until after it is fulfilled.”

 

(Oh – I see now – I didn’t get this while he was speaking – he’s talking about Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophesy of a Messiah.)

 

“We can guess what a prophesy means – but we can not be sure until after the fulfilling.”

 

“Predictions made by reading prophesies and saying what will happen will be full of errors. We must look back at the prophesy after the fulfilling.”

 

“We can look back and see Jesus.”

 

“They argue now between a secular and a religious government. Either way this goes, Israel is going to continue to have a very hard time of it.”

 

Europe is becoming anti-semitic – this is not even to mention Islam.”

 

“Still, the future of Israel is a glorious one! Thank you so much.”

 

Applause. And the meeting is over.

 

Wo – not over – the band is coming back up.

 

One person is holding a cup – like a goblet. Another is carrying two large loaves of bread.

 

The song our kids learned at school is now being sung – no band yet.

 

Shabat Shabat

Shabat Shabat

Shabat Shabat

Shabat Shabat Shalom!

 

(Sabbath Peace)

 

Then the band fired up with music similar to Zorba the Greek – started out slow – and picked up speed – with dancers returning from the congregation – more and more – faster and faster – about 30 of them now. Half were bare footed. Then it slowed back down – slower and slower – and ended.

 

Someone told me, “There is lots of food outside – Always plenty of food.

 

There was little sacrament-sized cups of wine – and also grape juice for the minors – and the two loaves were there to tear off a piece as you went by. Then as the man said – lots of food.

 

It would be hard to make it more perfect.

 

42 of 52 – Messianic Jews

 

(I met the man again outside – sure enough – He was an old Toastmaster’s club friend.

Charlie McGrath – He said, “I know – aren’t you Chuck?” He’s been a Messianic Jew since 1989 – an Elder.)

 

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