A friend of mine, Mike Zulinke, shared an article on Facebook (Are you Still Charismatic?) to help his friends understand his journey from a non-denominational practice to becoming an Anglican priest. It reminded me of everything I loved about the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. It also reminded me of a conversation I had with fellow blogger, James Pyles regarding Gentile worship. (I offered that the Book of Common Prayer contains an outline of worship and prayers, similar to a Siddur.)
It seems we are all searching for the correct way to follow the Creator of the Universe. It seems as though He is pulling His people along, training us up in the way we are to go. It seems that the Spirit of God is pulling His people closer to center as the end of the age approaches.
Recently released “Didache” (an ancient document known as ‘The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’) by FFOZ also points to the proper way. When these “coincidences” happen in my life, I hear the loud blast of guitar strings, knowing God (as my El-Kabong) is trying to get my attention.
During the last few months of 2016, I began to feel uncomfortable where I was worshipping. The place and the people hadn’t changed, but something was changing inside of me. Couple this with what I know is God’s call on my life, and I feel as though I’ve been wasting time.
Yet, several things happened in my life that I know was God’s hand – or His divine permission. My grandson moved in with me. He’s not
First, my grandson moved in with me. He’s not crazy about Messianic Judaism but did reconnect with his faith in God and his relationship with Messiah.
Second, my job got completely out of control, keeping me from attending bible studies and places of worship. It even prevented me from preparing for and entering into God’s Sabbath rest.
In essence, my life had become total chaos. But I think God intended it that way. I think He had to do a great shaking in my life to get rid of things I needed to get rid of and refocus me on what He’s called me to do.
I’m writing this on Shabbat morning (though it’s being published later.) I usually don’t create on the Sabbath, because God did not do so. Last night (Erev Shabbat) found my home in shambles. Earlier in the day, I had picked my granddaughter up and rather than rushing home we stopped at a couple of stores and had a good time together. There was a lot of laughter and silliness, something that had been lacking in our lives for quite a while.
When we got home, I had end-of-the-week computer work to finish. My granddaughter napped. The plan was to run around straightening the house and cook the meal together. But I didn’t finish work until nearly 7 pm. At that point, I could either stress my way to Shabbat or take it all in stride and go out to eat. My grandson arrived home from work about 7:30. The three of us got dressed and headed to the car. The laughter and fun continued and we came home ready for bed. We didn’t light the candles, nor did we say the traditional prayers before or after the meal. Yet, we had an amazing, relaxed time together.
My grandson arrived home from work about 7:30. The three of us got dressed and headed to the car. The laughter and fun continued and we came home ready for bed. We didn’t light the candles, nor did we say the traditional prayers before or after the meal. Yet, we had an amazing, relaxed time together.
This morning I did my final computer check for work, and for the first time in eight months, I was able to put my job away. I looked around at my untidy house and thought, “If Rabbi Matthew was still at TAK, I would head to Torah study.” But you see, God called him to a different ministry.
But you see, God called him to a different ministry. So I scanned Facebook and came across Mike’s post, which led to another, which made me realize that what I loved about the Episcopal Church was its focus on the corporate reading of Scripture.
I had this crazy thought and wondered if the Torah portions and the Anglican Lectionary lined up. So I pulled out the Lectionary books still sitting on my self from my time as a lay reader and verger in the Episcopal Church.
The church takes three years to read through God’s Word. They are currently (at the time of this writing) in year A, proper 10. The reading didn’t line up, but when I looked through year C, proper 10 I read Deuteronomy 30:9-14 (RSV).
The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground; for the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
“For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
Then came an epiphany!
Years ago I was with my spiritual Dad and Mom (an Episcopal priest and his wife) at a Holy Spirit convention in Indianapolis. The theme was, “Here Am I, Send Me”. It took place in the Hoosier Dome, and our group was sitting on the floor of the stadium.
A gal sitting way up high saw my face on the big screen and worked her way down to me to tell me that thought she’d never done anything like this before, she felt compelled by God to tell me, “because of your obedience, He’s giving you the desire of your heart.”
Now, everyone wanted to know what that was. In Psalm 37 it says, “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart.” The way I understood it, He was going to take His desires and place them in my heart.
Today’s epiphany is that God did indeed put His desire in my heart – to obey His voice, to keep His commandments and statutes, and to turn to Him with all my heart and soul, that these commandments are not too hard, nor are they far off. Rather His Word is very near to me, it is in my mouth and in my heart so that I can do it!
The same holds true for you and every believer, every follower of Messiah. This is the message He calls me to take to His body:
In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, and apart from Him nothing was made that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil. What I am commanding you today is to love Adonai your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His mitzvot, statutes and ordinances. I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live, by loving Adonai your God, listening to His voice – the Word made flesh, who did everything His Father’s Torah commanded because He and the Father are one.