‘Tis the season


This is such a holy season. Not that every day isn’t, but this Passover in particular I have felt the lessons we are to learn even more pointedly.


Last Shabbat I listened to the beautiful harmonies of the “Song of Moses” during services, immersed in the liturgy, and then felt as if Rabbi Rich’s sermon was speaking directly to me. As he shared insights on the week’s teachings, the words describing our feelings of inadequacy when prompted to serve in ways outside our comfort zones were so true. We so often feel like Moses must have felt, as we think, “Why me, Lord? I can’t do this.”


That is the very point. When we can’t He does it through us. We are reminded that we are mere servants to Him and through us He is glorified. How amazing is that! It really takes the pressure off! He’s doing all the work. We just have to be able to hear Him. Like a good father, when our Abba prompts us to try something new for His Glory that we have not done before – leining Torah or reading Hebrew generally, praising Him with song or dance, being bold in our faith through sharing with others – we grow in ways not otherwise possible. It’s like we grow in spite of our efforts.


For when we have those feelings of insecurity, that is when we feel His strength. That letting go of our ownership of the task occurs in that quiet or open space when we feel we can’t or are too afraid to try. That’s when we become vulnerable and make space for Him. That’s when we feel the intimacy of Yeshua holding our hand and His doing all the work.


A stumbling block to this impenetrable bond is when we forget how much we need Him and begin to feel we’re accomplishing the task by our own efforts. Thoughts like the more I practice, the better I will get flood our mind. The more I learn, the more I will know, the faster I will be able to read Hebrew. Not that there’s anything wrong with those thoughts for we are expected to work hard. It is a partnership.


The pitfall, however, is when we forget that all we are and do is from Him. If we are working harder and learning more it is because He is providing this ability to us. At those times when we start to get a little too self assured, a safety mechanism arises, probably built in by Design. We start to worry about how we’re doing, whether we sound okay, whether we said the right words. The original feelings of inadequacy start to return.


Which thought brings us to the most important part of this reflection – to remember the importance of prayer.


Prayer is the language of our love relationship with God. Although I was inspired to share these thoughts by the service last week, I didn’t realize until just last night that the message about Scripture and prayer would speak to an even deeper need in this season.


I, as I’m sure many of you, have been overwhelmingly troubled by the events on major college campuses this past week. Being of the age that I remember the protests of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I am not unfamiliar with the concept. Yet these are such different times of societal polarization and inability to have meaningful bilateral conversations. To complicate further, the subject matter involves Israel which to some, is about the Jewish people as a people, and as a Jewish person touches a special place in our hearts.


Every evening I would go to sleep, then awake in the middle of the night troubled by the protesters’ and their perceived adversaries’ inability to dialogue. I would think of the horror of rising anti-Semitism, experience renewed shock that the passionate disagreements crossed different age groups and religions. I was sleepless with feelings of helplessness, sadness, and fear of future global consequences.


None of my usual distractions were working, until I thought of Scripture and prayer. How did I not think of this before??? With the melodious reading of the Bible being read on an audio app with intermittent prayer set to beautiful music playing under my pillow, I finally was able to sleep. It was like being read a bedtime story from heaven.


We do not have control over this situation. God does. He does so using mankind’s choices and we (you and I) are not participating in those protests. So those situations will resolve based on the Divine/human interaction between Him and those involved. We are powerless there but empowered within our own lives to dialogue meaningfully yet empathetically with those in our circles, large or small, always guided by Scripture and prayer.


We also need to listen to Him for when we are to remain silent and just listen to another’s opinion which by far is much harder to do. We are also to listen to when we should just be with Him, to immerse in Scripture and prayer.


Whether it’s a scary undertaking or world events, once we immerse in Scripture and prayer we are reminded of Rabbi Rich’s message, when we are weak, that is when we can feel His strength. Less of us, more of Him. Whether equipping us to serve or survive, it is our Abba, through our intimate relationship with Yeshua, that we are not just alive, but we thrive, filled with His Ruach. What a blessing for all who partake, who accept His invitation to cleave to Him and live in His embrace.


Shabbat shalom.


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