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010720 mj513

  1. 1. Toward a More Intentional Messianic Jewish Spirituality Presented to Rabbi Stuart Dauermann MJ 513 Messianic Jewish Spirituality By Laura Li-Hua Sun School of World Mission Fuller Theological Seminary FTS # 882 Email: sunl99@hotmail.com Aug. 31, 2001 1
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENT I. INTRODUCTION------------------------------------------------------------------1 II. TORAH STUDY--TEACHING AND HEALING-----------------------------2 III. MITZVAH (COMMANDMENT) -----------------------------------------------4 IV. HITBODEDUT/ PRAYER & MEDITATION (MIND MAPPING)--------5 V. RITUAL LIFE-----------------------------------------------------------------------8 VI. ETHICAL LIVING-----------------------------------------------------------------9 VII. CONCLUSION---------------------------------------------------------------------11 REFERENCE CITED-----------------------------------------------------------------------13 FINAL REPORT LOG & Permission sheet for using final paper---------------------14 2
  3. 3. I. INTRODUCTION Messianic Jewish spirituality is the awareness of standing in the presence of God. This paper concentrates on how and why my spiritual life is different as a result of participating this course entitled of MJ 513--Messianic Jewish Spirituality. It includes five specific changes I plan to make in my spirituality practices include: Torah Study; Mitzvah (commandment); Hitbodedut/ Prayer & Mediation; ritual life, and ethical living. According to the class syllabus, Messianic Jewish Spirituality seeks to nurture a fruitfulness evidencing ongoing growth in this six areas: “ [1] loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds; [2] loving our neighbors as ourselves; [3] being conformed to the image of Messiah; [4] preserving and strengthening our commonality, community and continuity with other Jews; [5] maintaining Filial relationship with the Church; [6] Demonstrating (experiencing) fruitfulness, giftedness and communion with the Holy Spirit. Six time-honored pillars of Jewish religious life aid us in achieving the six–fold goal specified above: [1] Sacred instruction-- Torah; [2] Liturgically informed prayer; [3] ethical living, [4] Ritual life, and [5] Mitzvah life under commandment; [6] Supplementary and catalyzing spiritual growth as described above.” I believe that when Christ calls me as a leader to Christian ministry He intends to develop me to my full potential. For me, being in leadership brings responsibility to continue developing in accordance with God’s processing all of my life. According to Dr. Robert Clinton, “Ministry flow out of being”, beingnesss describes the inner life of a person and refers to intimacy with God, character, personality, giftedness, destiny, values drawn from experience, gender influenced perspectives. Besides my natural abilities and acquired skills, my spiritual gifts 3
  4. 4. include faith, word of knowledge, discerning spirits, giving, helps, healing, word of wisdom, exhortation, prophecy and teaching. He has given me the direction in which I am moving now is to know and to understand how best to serve God with the gifts. My new spirituality direction and plans will be based on the above six pillars to develop in five aspects. II. TORAH STUDY--TEACHING AND HEALING Spirituality through studying the Torah—the first five books of Moses-- is axiomatic to Jewish life. Both study and practice are important in term of mind and hand. I believe that the more I study, the more I acquire the skills that will enable me to understand myself, the world around me, and God, who makes it all possible.(Sonsino 2000: 65). I appreciate and admire the way Jewish study brings the student closer to God. That is why Jewish study is often conducted aloud, in a singsong chant. It is more than an intellectual operation; it is a way of arching one’s soul up toward the divine and finding God inside oneself. At the same time, Jewish study uses Bible to illuminate experiences (Sonsino 2000: 68). Keep learning is part of my own Four-L personality theory—To Live, To Love, To Learn and To Go to the Lord. In other words, I believe that study / learning itself can lead to transcendence, and knowledge can be the source of the highest spirituality. Torah study, which is a lifelong discipline is also a major ingredient of personal spirituality. It nourishes our soul, gives us direction in life, and sharpens our mind. The sacred text, elucidated by past generations and currently, becomes a road map for us as we face daily challenges (Sonsino 2000: 68-69). In terms of discipline of study, for Messianic Jews, a truly holy person is one whose life embodies Torah. The Apostle Paul and the Prophet Daniel even in their old age both were still immersed in study, even at the end of a long and Spirit gifted life of 4
  5. 5. ministry. I ought to follow their examples. A committed student of the Word will learn about what resources and methods are available and will take steps to implement some program of developing and ever-deeping knowledge of and conformity the sacred text. As a result of this understanding, I will schedule Torah study now and future teaching as my priority on a regular basis. Being a right-brain person and from what I have read in the Word of God for the past twenty years, it appear to be I more in tune with some Books, such as Hebrews instead of Romans, and more able to relate to Peter rather than Paul. However, I will discipline myself to study the Word of God, especially the Sacred Text--Torah and become a more well-grounded Bible-centered leader after this course. I have also found that I must model it myself. This approach has given me more insight in which to communicate the truth to those not familiar with God’s Word. Like Ezra the priest, my life purpose is to teach the truths of God’s words to His people in such a way as to bring about renewal—that is, worship of God, an understanding of His requirements on our lives, and response to Him so that God’s people live out His truth in their lives and thus honor God. Also as a Priest, I expect to have spiritual authority, in teaching the Torah. As a Torah teacher who exposes the truths of the Word of God, both publicly and in small groups and for training of other leaders, I expect to see changed lives individually and seeds of a renewal movement. My study of and teaching the Torah competently should generate spiritual authority and hopefully have impact on lives. One of the Jewish way I plan to use in teaching the Torah is noisy and highly interactive. When there is disagreement, the text is the primary teacher. The text, the process and the participants must always be treated with respect. Since 5
  6. 6. Jewish study happens best in pairs [chevruta], I will appoint myself a teacher and acquire for myself a study partner [chaver]. Torah study should help improve one’s self identity. In this regard, my gift of healing could be used. III. MITZVAH (COMMANDMENT) Mitzvah is used as a “response”, and more than a “commandment”(Goldstein 1999:19). The whole point of an ethic is that it comes to you. It is discovered; it is not chosen. God is only in the details. If one follows God, there cannot be a fully autonomous human being. There has to be some kind of heteronomy. There has to be obedience. How do I know God’s will for me, and whether I am able to do God’s will are difficult questions. But they are secondary to the belief that, if I know, when I know, however I know God’s will, there is no choice about performing it. There is only obedience or sin. The task is to ritualize the ethical commandments and to etheticize the ritual commandments(Goldstein 1999: 20). What is important is the direction of our life, not the number of mitzvoths performed. I am obligated under God to perform a number of ethical tasks. Holiness is not abstract or magical; it is the goal of our morality and the task of my deeds. (Goldstein 1999: 21). An embrace of mitzvah means that I accept God as my commander, that I am prepared to live my life in response to God and as God’s covenant partner, this needs to be the starting point in order to discuss the Mitzvot (Goldstein 1999:31). Since being called to be an inherited priest as the prophetic words I receive, I would pay more attention to the role of the priesthood. I need to know the social pattern to be able to judge the law( like the jury) so that there are two parts related to the priesthood: 1) the Word of God— to know how to teach and how to instruct; 2) the sacrifice—for the priest to interact in order to 6
  7. 7. know when to intercede. Application of past truth to the contemporary needs will be the post modernity, social macro context. The duty of being a priest is to know and apply Mitzvah through teaching. The function of the priest involves interpretations. The priest should know every aspect of the Mitzvah: to memorize the Mitzvah (commandment); to internalize in order to teach and execute the religious practice; then, become the “brain” of the community and to intercede for it. By knowing the Law and by modeling it, I should be able to explain clearly and simply the truth in terms that the lay people can understand. Both in small groups and individual will be my methods. VI. HITBODEDUT/ PRAYER & MEDITATION ( MIND MAPPING) Hitbonenut means “knowing oneself” and is a blanket term for contemplation and meditation. Meditation requires discipline, is a process of self-discovery, and can be painful at times. The Jewish method of Hibodedut means time for yourself, private time. It is to be a time of inner-directed, unstructured, active meditation in order to cultivate intimacy with God. It is a planned appointment with God. I should make my sha’ah(Hour) of Hitbodedut long enough to be able to turn to God and give my full attention to the all-important work of spiritual growth.” Or mind--mapping. As stated in the class syllabus, “Hibodeut is very compatible with Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effcetive People which can be very well used in bringing task- focus to Hitbodeut sessions. Being Jesus’ disciple is being disciplined.” For me personally, to pray is to spend time with Abba — Hitbodedut is crucial to my being liberated from excessively performance-oriented approach to personal devotional practice. This removes prayer from the 7
  8. 8. realm of performance - anxiety, something which tends to repel me and hinder my going to the time and place of prayer. Through the spoken word I turn the potential into the actual, making distant, barely articulated dreams, hopes, wishes and intentions into concrete ideas leading to practical action and achievement. By expressing my inner problems and feelings, I would expect to gain deeper insight and to see a solution. From Daniel’s Jewish model and Yeshua’s prayer life, I realize that I can and should bring all my life and its concerns into my prayer time with God. He cares for me, and He invites me to be with Him one hour a day through a prophetic word. Prayer is meant to be the relational core of one’s life with God. It should be as natural for a child of God to pray as it is for a baby to cry out for its mother. Prayer was central in the life of Yeshua. I will consider a personal growth project in which, through Scripture reading and prayerful meditation, I will get in touch with the centrality of prayer- in the life of Bible characters and in the teaching of the Messiah as a result of this course. I pray that God will give me an appropriate prayer partner or prayer partners with whom I can meet and to continue to learn of God and the space He wants in my life. The traditional Jewish teaching about the presence of God is equated to impressive natural phenomena throughout history, anything that “enriches the individual emotionally and intellectually, and fills him or her with a sense of great awe (Sonsino 2000: 40). Such as my sense of calling from God through the prophetic words, which I esteem as supernatural, I need to be alert to these experiences and these encounters with God not in order to repeat or to put them on a shelf as part of my personal story and history to be shared with others for God’s glory. Also 8
  9. 9. like Moses in priesthood, through my relationship with God, seeking the welfare of my people, wherever I pray, ought to do so with the well-being of my community in mind. Like the word to Aaron’s priesthood in Leviticus 16, SEEK MY FACE, NOT MY HANDS ! —enter the inner court of the Lord; also as Tommy Tenny said: “One night with the King can change a nation!” I need to beautify myself to be the bride. I can spend one night with the Lord and ask Him for a nation! “For such a time as This” is the Esther Generation, I must pay the price and receive favor from the King. For me, to pay the price means to go through treatments before I could even enter the presence of God. I must saturate myself with the oil of the Spirit so that my flesh will become so cleansed that I too breathe out the Spirit of God. Spirituality through prayer is a work on oneself, a kind of spiritual workout, a time of self evaluation. Prayer for me, above all, is a healing process. It is a work of using the mind to look into the heart placing myself in a closer union with God; it is a time to become aware of love, awe, trust, and faith. I highly appreciate that this aspect of Jewish spirituality is something I need to learn from. I would like to integrate the Daniel model of Spirituality into mine as a biblical and cultural Jewish model incorporating the following: Journaling, liturgical rhythms, communal awareness and spiritual discipline. I will seek a silent undisturbed place in which to be in, tune to the spontaneous, an openness to insight, and journaling. Within a framework of worshipful expectancy, I desire an openness to the supernatural and an obedient responsiveness toward God and to mentoring relationships. I will not necessarily major three times a day toward Jerusalem at expect times. I want to practice the discipline of fasting to include food and time with people 9
  10. 10. and time in solitude. Limited time should be allowed for television, computer etc. To value my spiritual interaction with God and His with me, I want to journal both preserve and multiply these values. I believe journaling is a great way of getting the intuitive down on paper as a prelude to later evaluation and analysis. As with Daniel’s prayer life so my own prayer life is also reflected in the rhythms of my Chinese culture calendar (instead of Jewish) in the daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal rhythms of life. V. RITUAL LIFE God is in the details of all life. The ritual life for me will include the discipline of confession, submission, solitude and silence. In the Bible there is much teaching and modeling which points to a social context for confession. In the discipline of confession, we let trusted others know our deepest weakness and failures. We engage and are engaged by others in the most profound depths of our soul. Confession is good for the soul. My small group needs to become a place where my group members feel safe being honest about themselves. In submission, we engage the experience and counsel of spiritual authorities in our fellowship, trusting them to direct me and hold me accountable in my efforts toward growth. I believe this is the highest level of fellowship; involving humility, complete honest, transparency, and, at times, confession and restitution. The discipline of solitude can free me by causing me to break free from the patterns of feeling, thought and action that characterize my day - to - day life in a world set against God. In other words, this can help me see things in perspective. Yeshua frequently practiced in the desert in solitude. This allows space in our lives for God. which purpose is to allow space in our lives 10
  11. 11. for God. Yeshua inaugurated his ministry and cope with his grief prior to His crucifixion at Gethsemane in solitude. I need to make a wider place for solitude in my own life. The discipline of silence is an excellent preparation for prayer and Bible reading. Practicing the discipline of silence will free and heal me from the compulsion to control. In silence, control is relinquished. When I realize I am not really in control, my anxiety goes away and God can work in and through my life in a much deeper way. A good reminder for me is that if I do not have time to spend alone with God, I am doing more than God intended me to do. I would like to plan to have a personal one-day silent retreat once a month. VI. ETHICAL LIVING I believe that community is the main context in which I practice my personal spirituality. “ I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, the house of bondage ( Ex.20:20; Isa 45:1ff).” Since YAHWAH is a personal God who has a relationship with me through a covenant, and takes a personal interest in my well-being. Every time I enter into an I-Thou relationship, I also get a glimpse of the eternal Thou, who is God. What I receive is not a content but a presence, a presence as strength (Sonsino 2000:133). Judaism sees spirituality expressed primarily through relationship with others and by means of good deeds toward one’s fellow human beings. As a member of the Body of Christ, I do not live solely to myself. The proper place and proper function is in fellowship with others similarly joined to Messiah in faith and love. Also, the sphere of the proper operation of the gifts of the Spirit require a gathering of God’s people. In fellowship, we engage in common activities of worship, study, prayer, celebration, and service with other people of God. Jesus said, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” In service, 11
  12. 12. we place our possessions and strength in the active promotion to the good of others and the causes of God in our world. The rich and poor and those in between, should embrace the discipline of service. How is this to be applied ? I must learn to demonstrate concern for people’s physical and spiritual needs. This will include giving of my time, and my resource. I should not just wait for this to happen. Instead, I should take the initiative as Jesus commanded and do something! I should make concrete plans and a calendar change to stretch out to my community. Another aspect of ethical living of community is to practice the discipline of celebration. I believe that celebration is biblical. Celebration includes having fun. God is the Lord and Creator of all of life. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights (Ja 1:17). I need to avoid becoming so “ religious” that I neglect to celebrate the richness of all of life—good friends, good music, good food, marital love, fragrances, experiences, sights and sounds which bring me delight. Therefore, I will try to spend time to celebrate my favorite things, such as watching the white clouds, the blue sky, green grass and colorful flowers, giving thanks to God for the richness and texture of life as He created it. Also, the discipline of worship is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, that is, to worship Him who is the worthy. I must deliberately disciplined myself to express the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God through thought and the use of words, rituals, symbols and bodily postures. I may do this alone, as in community with God’s people. I may use body to convey what my heart feels. “The Celebration of Discipline” by Richard J. Foster is one of my favorite books concerning spiritual growth. The discipline of frugality is one of the most necessary in my point 12
  13. 13. of view. To practice this discipline means I stay within the bounds of good judgment for the kind of life to which God has led me. Frugality does not mean poverty. It means living appropriately within ones means and not being ruled by hunger for power, glamour, or luxury. Since my calling is “go to the nations”, traveling out of my comfort zone would be necessary to help awaken me to the conspicuous consumption which is taken for granted in the Western World.. Overall, I would bear in mind that all the virtues listed in Goldstein’s Judaism and Spiritual Ethics are not only a beginning but are derived from the virtue of “knowledge of God.” They refer to the Sacred Text—Torah and Mitzvah. As I progress from one virtue to the next, it becomes clear to me that each virtue that follows the knowledge of God also leads back to it. The ten virtues are -- Knowledge of God, Acts of Loving–Kindness, Righteousness, Prayer, Embarrassment, Faith, Wholeheartedness/Integrity. A good Name, Repentance and Peace( Shalom). As a result, the ten essential virtues from the original twenty-four, selected by Rabbis Niles E. Goldstein and Steven S Mason, are an integrated whole whose sum is greater than its parts (Goldstein 1996:ix ). I am impressed with the fact that Jewish life is a more moral struggle for social action (Gordis 1995:35 ) than as a process of living life in dialogue with a series of sacred texts. I would see my personal past experience of the Christian walk as with Jewish life which is a spiritual odyssey, essentially about struggle and journey (Gordis 1995:42). I admire that Jewish life based on the fact that Sacred text creates community, a marvelous continuity and sense of connectedness. Ritual is a source of connectedness, the expression of wonder, a subversive social critique, a transformational tool, a setting for communal introspection. 13
  14. 14. VII. CONCLUSION For me, after over twenty years of the Christian walk and journey, I observe that spirituality cannot be imposed. It has to be discovered. My growth in Yeshua reflects my own being which includes personality and inclination, characters and giftedness. Francis Schaffer and C.S. Lewis were my favorite Christian-Apologetic intellectuals when I was a new Christian. As time went by, I was more drawn into to those who have a prophetic revelatory giftedness, such as the gift of healing, the discerning spirit, the spirit of wisdom, counsel, prophecy, etc. During this stage of my spiritual journey, I remain in awe of God’s glory as I stand in His presence. With the help of Holy Spirit, I want to reach wholeness in my spiritual odyssey, especially in my union with Christ, my access through God to Him, and my relationship to the Holy Spirit. I desire to work on study of the Torah as the Lord has called me as His “little flower” in His heart. The word of the Lord and Holy Spirit are the water to keep this little flower growing instead of withering. I want to keep open to other alternatives for spirituality as I mature and deepen my understanding of life and its challenges( Sonsino 2000: 153). For me, ministry flows out of being. I would like to be more focused on the gift of teaching, healing, word of wisdom, and discernment, since I want to have a legacy of those who are following and growing in God. I will come alongside the ministry leaders and support them as they attempt to follow God’s orders to renewal and revival. I want to leave behind a trained group of people who can read, study, and apply God’s words and will train others in turn to keep the truth alive. I want to be a person prepared for God to use in the future. 14
  15. 15. REFERENCE CITED Goldstein, Niles E. and Peter S. Knobel. 1999 Duties of the Soul: The Role of Commandments in Liberal Judaism. NY: UAHC Press, Goldstein, Niles E. and Steve S. Mason. 1996 Judaism and Spiritual Ethics. New York: UAHC Press. Gordis, Daniel. 1995 God Was Not in the Fire: The Search for a Spiritual Judaism. New York: Scribner. Hoffman, Lawrence, ed. 1998 My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries. Volume 2 - The Amidah. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights. Kugel, James. 1990 On Being a Jew. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Sonsino, Rafat. 2000 Six Jewish Spiritual Paths: A Rationalist Looks at Spirituality. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishing. 15
  16. 16. FINAL REPORT LOG & Permission sheet for using final paper Date Due: August, 31, 2001 Name: Laura Li-Hua Sun 1. Final Paper as an email attached file to Stuartd@fuller.edu 2. Reading Reports- next to each title, indicate with a check mark if indeed you have read the book in question. X Goldstein, Niles E. and Steve S. Mason. Judaism and Spiritual Ethics. X Goldstein, Niles E. and Peter S. Knobel. Duties of the Soul X Buxbaum, Yitzchak Real Davvening: Jewish Prayer as a Spiritual Practice. . . X Gordis, Daniel. God Was Not in the Fire: The Search for a Spiritual Judaism. X Hoffman, Lawrence, ed. My People's Prayer Book Volume 2 - The Amidah. X Kugel, James On Being a Jew. X Sonsino, Rafat. Six Jewish Spiritual Paths =================================================== Permission sheet for use of Final Papers by Stuart Dauermann Due Date: To be submitted with final paper Permission For Use in a reader ( check in the blank) ---- I give permission for Stuart Dauermann to use my paper in the Reader which will be used for future classes. On the reserve Shelf f or this or other classes, and in his workshop and seminars. Signed Laura Li-Hus Sun Date Aug. 31, 2001 16

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