Participating in the Maturing in Messiah (MIM) class has brought so much richness to my life – new practices, new perspectives, new interactions in existing relationships, new knowledge about my faith, and more. The havruta method of such life learning with another member or members of our spiritual community is clearly an inspired concept that has withstood the test of time.
In conversations with my sister who is my havruta partner, we both have grown in our understanding not only of Messianic Judaism, but perhaps more importantly, through this interaction we each have learned more about ourselves. We not only discuss our individual prayer practices and study the Bible and more, but also, we have an intentional forum for discussing the challenges and goals we each experience in our faith walks. I have not only learned new ways to look at Bible passages, but also, have learned how to integrate more faith growth into busy days and how to forgive myself when I don’t meet my expectations. Each of us has learned so much by listening to the other’s perspective.
This vulnerable interaction is deepened within our Ruach community through various other initiatives – the prayer app with its additional subgroups forming yet another community of faith growth and vibrant spiritual activity. Ruach’s Tuesday nights with Rabbi Rich and Thursday nights with Rabbi Nathan further bring our community closer, reaching the high point of communal faith together each week with Shabbat services. These are just the organized groups and events, not to mention the informal get togethers, phone calls, emails, that connect us throughout the week.
As we live in such a connected faith community, we approach the Throne in this world. We come closer to living lives in Him, modeled in the ways of Yeshua. From these workings in us spring forth ideas that no one person, no one grouping, could develop and integrate so purposefully if just individual by individual. Through the interlockings developing in our community our leaders become blessed to lead us with enriched wisdom.
During my Shachrit this week I read a very powerful footnote in the Amida about our prayer for peace:
“’Shalom’ means more than the English word ‘peace”: it also means ‘completeness, perfection, harmonious interaction.’ The prophets of Israel were the first in history to conceive of peace as an ideal, most famously in the words of Isaiah: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore’ (Is.2:4). Peace is the ultimate hope of monotheism, with its belief that the world is the product of a single will, not the blind clash of conflicting elements.” [Rabbi Jonathan Sacks]
We are witnessing countries coming together in global community to fight the atrocities resulting from such a blind clash of an attempt to dominate a community merely living its life. We have been encouraged by the rallying of support from Western nations as well as the bravery of those fighting for their country. It is through the integrity and spiritual maturity developing in each individual, joined in community, in statehood, in country, that we can strive for the shalom described by Rabbi Saks.
What each of us does, matters. We can’t solve all ills, nor eliminate unscrupulous leaders. What we can do is work on ourselves and strive to be a light to those around us. Spiritually centered individuals form God centered communities, cities, states, and countries. From the ground up we are to work diligently toward this vision of our prophets as steps toward ultimate shalom in Olam Ha-Ba. Hard to imagine with the headlines. All the more reason to not hesitate to start, for world peace starts with each of us as we learn to walk in the ways of Yeshua – together.
I encourage you to continue to connect, or reconnect with the various blessed opportunities available to strengthen your spiritual muscles as we strive for a more peaceful tomorrow.