52 Churches 52 Weeks

Worship Exploration Journey

Week 11 – Synagogue 1 – Beth Simchat HaMashiach – Messianic Jewish

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Shabbat Shalom! At a friend’s suggestion I attended Beth Simchat HaMashiach this Saturday in Scottsdale. I cannot say enough good things about my experience there. The Rabbis and attendees were so generous and welcoming. I had not heard of Messianic Jews before and learned they believe Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the World.

After several years housed in a church, the worshiper’s established their own location at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center just off Scottsdale Road and Rose Lane. Very near the Borgata if you are ever driving by on a Saturday around 11:00 a.m. The moment you walk in there is a happy “Shabbat Shalom!”, laughing and music and joy and a pair of Rabbis to greet you. Such nice people who are filled with kindness and a deep love for the Lord. It was simply apparent. One of the Rabbis is even a Pastor.

The worship lasted 2 hours and struck me as very interactive. The time went so quickly that I never felt the urge to check my watch. The Rabbis are almost comedic, worthy of a little stand up. We heard about the recent attacks in Israel near the Egyptian border and that the treaty between Egypt and Israel may come to an end very soon due to changes in leadership. We prayed for Israel and spoke the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew – the Language of Yeshua – Jesus’ name as it was pronounced in his own language. We prayed together under the garments worn by the men with the fringe that reminds us of the Lords Commandments. We prayed that the Lord will fill our hearts with Love.

One of my favorite things was the music. It varied between a wild barefoot, camo short, reggae hat wearing Bongo Drummer and prayers sung in Hebrew to country music and then to something deeply soulful, sweet and spiritual. I wished Candace was there. She would have loved it!

I heard again that G-d wants us to give our whole hearts to him. He is not interested in the fact that we might be good church goers or attend bible study, or do all the right things. He wants our whole hearts. We had a few moments of silence to lay our burdens at the feet of the Lord so that he can handle the big stuff on our behalf. The Rabbis said healing prayers and put anointing oil on the foreheads of people needing healing.

As I reflect on the places that I have been in the past 11 weeks it is hard not to compare. It reminds me of my days in Japan. Always learning something new and just allowing my mind to be open to another possibility. The music, the mission statement, the Pastor, the flow – everywhere I go it seems similar and yet different; just like in Japan.

One thing that seems the same is the focus on the Words. Words flashing on white walls and big screens, bible passages, prayers, songs, announcements. A few weeks ago I remember thinking, “Words, Words, Words!” This week I came out of the fog and realized that Bible is a story, a history, a conveying of a message through words. You probably already knew that but I actually had no articulation for that. Rabbi Zimmerman put focus on the actual words and spoke them in Hebrew and in English. He even told a little joke about the Lord’s Prayer not originally spoken in King James English. I think that Priests, Pastors, Ministers, and Rabbis must be great storytellers.

For more information visit www.BethSimchatHaMashiach.com

To learn more about Messianic Judaism I found this link – www.WhatisMessianicJudaism.com


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