Last week, at our Foundations 10 “conference” (for want of a better word) in Sidholme Hotel, Devon, my last few articles – where I describe the seven things that the Church has lost since it threw out its Hebrew roots – came alive!
First, simcha, joy. Let us remind ourselves what the Psalms often tell us to do:
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11)
Worship is mostly associated with music and is often initiated by the activating of a play-list within the control of a worship leader. We had worship leaders, but none of them had a play-list, neither did any of them sing or play a musical instrument. Our worship leaders were chosen as mature believers who could lead us into the heart of God and His needs, which doesn’t always require the twanging of guitar strings. Of course, music is an important component but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all. Nevertheless, we also had a small worship group to play mostly up-tempo Messianic songs and two keyboard players to lead us into some more traditional hymns. But it is fair to say that most singing was acapella, unaccompanied human voices, powerful, raw and often most joyful. This joy was released when a single voice from within the “congregation” bravely cut into the silence, worship initiated by an individual prompted by the Holy Spirit and always joined by others.
Then there was chaim, life. Life can be messy and unstructured, which is also how we like to do Foundations. Schedules are overwritten, workshops clash and people are encouraged either to pack in the wide variety of workshops on offer … or just to do nothing. Life should be about challenges.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Too often Christian gatherings are lifeless and predictable, yet Jesus came to bring us life to the full. For real shalom we need to cater for all of our individual needs, mind, body and spirit. Sometimes we miss out on so much because we Christians are not stretched and encouraged to try out something new. One such challenge is dance, a wonderful expression of chaim. Near the beginning of the week, Robert, one of the Sh’ma Kingdom dancers made a plea for men to burst through their reticence and ‘fear of looking daft’ and join the dance workshop. To be frank, this is evidently a work in progress and not too many took the challenge, yet we ended up with a dance team of around twenty people, including some young children, who performed a three part dance/drama routine on the Friday, a lot of it centred on a song written by our Messianic worship leader, David Macrow. based on my book, Into the Lion’s Den and acted out with swords and much exuberance, accompanied by a twenty-piece choir trained from scratch by David and his bouncy wife, Keila. It was life and joy all wrapped up in one fifteen-minute sequence and available for all to see on YouTube.
Kadosh, holiness, tends to be overlooked in our busyness. It speaks of separation, away from the noise of our world and its concerns. We felt very much that we were in a holy place, trapped together within the four walls (actually quite a lot of walls) of the hotel and aligning us together in thinking about things of God.
… be holy, because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:45)
Kadosh was in the silences between the songs, in the shared craft activities, in those moments when the penny dropped and clarity filled the mind during a teaching session, in the private and corporate times when individuals were prayed over. It was also in the streets when our evangelists hit the town and brought a touch of heaven to people who had long lost any ideas of true hope in a Saviour. Kadosh lived when the self died and the focus was on God and His ways.
This is an extract from the book, Shalom, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/shalom-239-p.asp
Finding joy, life and holiness