How should faith and reason work together?
What should Church really be all about?
Finally, our thoughts return to ourselves, individual “called out ones”, the Church of God. We need to examine our lives in Christ and honestly ask whether we are truly living the life that God has in store for us. In earlier articles we examined the Christian life, concentrating on aspects that are relevant. We stressed the importance of our works, something confused by many in the Church who believe that we are so much “under grace” that there is really nothing we should do to show for it, otherwise it may seem that we are working for our salvation. The fact is that we work because of our salvation. The Torah is more relevant to the Church than it has ever realised.
Worship has been pigeon-holed into a stereotype of singing sessions, but there’s so much more than that, so very much more. Our whole lives are meant to be expressions of worship to our God, it is a function, an activity, not a session, or a special time, or a concert or celebration. The whole function of our lives should be to love Him and use our mind, body and soul in worshipping Him.
Our first big thought stressed the importance of remembering and the way that this was expressed in biblical times and beyond was through agada, storytelling. We need to develop this gift and encourage others to seek it. Hebraic Church needs to tell stories of how God has impacted our lives, just as the Passover seder is directed through the narrative of the Haggadah. We need to create stories taken from our own faith journeys, but also of others, and particularly stories from the Bible. And, also, we should not be scared of using digital technology and the internet to help us create these stories.
Wisdom is one thing the Christian world is very short of at the moment, proper Godly wisdom that draws people towards Him and away from ourselves. Awe is the beginning of wisdom and we need an image of God that takes our breath away, even if it is accompanied by fear and trembling. The other thing is our giftings, the unique skillset and character given to all of us. Our chief goal is to find ways of giving them all back to the Lord, finding our place in the Body of Christ and embracing whatever is Plan A for our life.
We still have the capacity to sin, we must never forget this and true repentance is probably the most neglected facet of our Christian life. Although the biblical imperative is for us to “change our mind” about our sins, a more Hebraic approach is implied by the Hebrew word teshuvah, a change of direction and whatever that involves. Action is always going to be better than words, because this will usually involve other people. Our prayers should also involve other people and communal prayer is a strong feature of the Hebraic tradition. Prayer, as well as all other activities where the Body Christ builds itself up, should flourish in a Church environment, whereas evangelism, our interaction with the World, should occur where the World is … outside the Church. Finally we see that the Hebraic way is quite restless and noisy and we should embrace this if applicable to our circumstances, it’s born out of a reverence for life itself.
Bringing together these facets of Christian life, we will end with a thought that should encapsulate the core principles of Hebraic life:
Thought #7: Is there real life in your Church?
So, over the last seven articles we have seven thoughts, big thoughts. All areas of concern for today’s Church in the West. There most probably are other thoughts to be had, increasingly so as time passes and as secularism and apostasy encroach. That’s the Hebraic dynamic for you. It raises many questions, it prompts us into continual evaluation as to whether we are doing the right thing. And it’s an ongoing process, so it will probably only end when the Church has reached perfection … in heaven.
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp