I was finally able to do something that I had been wanting to do for a long time. I have been a fan of the Messianic music group Lamb for the last 30 years and have been intrigued by the Messianic movement. However, the timing has never worked out, until last Sabbath. Now that I am 50+ I have decided if I'm every gonna learn about this branch of the Church, I better get moving. So, I joined a Facebook group called Messianics and started asking questions. I quickly found that there was a group that met weekly about 25 minutes from my home. I emailed Rabbi Adler of The Sha'arey Yeshsua Congregation and discovered that this fellowship is vibrant and welcoming.
The service had a wonderful blend of Judaism and Christianity. In fact, I believe that if one understands Judaism better and that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, one understands Christianity better. There were congregational readings throughout, first in Hebrew and then in English. There was a wonderful time of singing and dancing. I felt fortunate because I knew some of the tunes, as I had heard them on Lamb albums.
The first thing that I really, really liked, was all the children were brought to the front of the room and were turned around facing the congregation. Then the congregation sang to them. It was called Blessing on the Children which was Romans 15:13 sung with a Jewish flavor. Imagine being a child and a group of adults are singing to you, "May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." It is such an affirming song with an eternal message.
The second thing that I really, really liked was there were dance leaders who led a group of people, and whoever wanted to join in, dancing around the room during the worship time. I was singing & clapping and watching these people dancing. I noticed after about 20 minutes of watching them, I was winded. Now I'm not in terrific shape but I didn't realize how much I was emotionally dancing with these people even though I didn't leave my seat. An elderly lady next to me said, "I'm tired!" I said, "I am too and all I am doing is watching!"
The third thing that I really, really liked was after the message, the song, Jew and Gentile: One in Messiah was sung as a congregation. I found that the Messianic earnestly desires that the church be unified under the one and only true Messiah. This song helped me to feel included as part of this congregation. Rabbi Adler noted in verses 5-9 that "the Messiah's presence will be so great that evil is not a threat, that the whole world will have knowledge of the Lord, that the world will know God is who He says He is. The knowledge of the Messiah will be as the water covers the sea."
Now, you may be thinking, what is the pun Rabbi Adler was talking about? If you look at Mattityahu (Matthew) 2:23, you will notice that Jesus settling in Nazareth was to fullfill the prophecy that "He would be called a Nazarene." Rabbi Adler noted that there was no such prophecy. "That is where the pun is. That is a play on Yeshayah (Isaiah) 11:1. The word "netzer" which means "branch" has the same root word as "natzeret" the Hebrew word for Nazareth." I realized that what I believed was true. To understand Messianicism would help me understand God's Word better. Rabbi Adler expounded more on Isaiah 11. I found several nuggets of understanding that I had not had before but I won't mention them here as this is just a brief overview of my experience last Sabbath.
If you get the chance to visit a Messianic congregation, go for it. You will find a warm welcome and a better understanding of God's Word. I definitely plan to go back.
BE A MAN.