Thursday, August 16, 2007

Beth Yeshua


Last weekend in Philly, Nancy and I had the opportunity to visit Beth Yeshua, a Messianic Jewish temple. Our friend Terri Gillespie invited us, and we were so thrilled to go. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew a couple of things going in--first of all, God has not abandoned his chosen people. Second, Scripture says that whomever blesses the Jews will be blessed by God. And third, I was raised in a church where that latter precept was practiced--I remember our church handbell choir playing for a reformed Synagogue on a Friday night--simply to bless them with beautiful music.

Anyway, we walked into the synagogue on Friday night and were warmly greeted even though the service had already begun. Up front, a married couple was reciting the Sabbath prayers--the woman lit the candles (lovely, isn't it, that the woman ushers in the Light of the World?), and then the man recited the prayers, broke the bread, and shared the cup with his wife.

And then the praise music began--and I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it, and yes, I've been to charismatic churches. Not only did they sing with great fervor and praise, but women and men came forward to dance in the open space. A lovely circular dance that looked sort of like a grapevine that included frequent raising of the hands to heaven--hard to describe, but it was lovely. Several times I had to stop singing and bite my lip just to keep from bursting into tears. I might have allowed myself to weep, but we were on the front row AND I knew I didn't have a single tissue in my purse. Note to self--next time, pack a box of Kleenex.

Terri summed up the feeling for me after the service. She spoke of her first worship experience and said it seemed to her that this is what worship in heaven would be like--all of us, Jew and Gentile, combining our worship styles of song and dance in praise to the Lord Jesus, Yeshua, our King. Amen, Terri. That's exactly what it was like.

I wish you all could have been there. I'm still processing my thoughts and feelings, but I'm sure they will bubble up in a story to come . . . and soon.

~~Angie

9 comments:

terri gillespie said...

Sigh. Beautifully expressed, Angie. I half expected you to jump from your chair and join the Davidic dancers. Next time, right?

Love you!
Terri

oh amanda said...

I've actually been to Beth Yeshua in Philly! We used to do children's ministry at a messianic synagogue here in Atlanta, then went on a missions trip to downtown Philly and stopped there!

My favorite part of the service is always the woman and the candle. I can still remember the words she said, but won't write them here b/c I certainly don't know how to spell it!

Dianne said...

Cool. I have always been curious about Jewish worship - would loved to have been there. I think you're right in that it's a picture of things to come. Wow, that must have been an awesome experience.

I was at Philly too btw. I was not thrilled to miss your keynote session to drive home.

Doni Brinkman said...

Would love to visit there. I am homeschooling Tanner this year and we are using a curriculum that emphasizes our "Jewish" roots. We will also be celebrating all the Jewish Holidays. As an adoptive mother, it is an easy concept for me to embrace - being adopted into the line of Abraham. Judaism is, after all, the very root of my faith. :)

Catherine said...

What a blessing!! I have enjoyed Messianic Worship in the past. When my husband was a grocer, he had a customer who was the Leader of the congregation (not to be confused with a pastor ;-D ) so we would visit on occasion. That was in Needham, MA. I am sure that there are probably pocket of completed Jews around the country, not just in Philly, so other people ought to look them up and go wherever they live. Since, I live in Charlottesville, VA I think I will look them up now. Perhaps I will be dancing with praise tonight!
Y'shua is King!!

Anonymous said...

I leave for a two week visit to the Holy Land next Friday. I wonder whether there will be any services like this over there? Does anybody know and could you advise me? Many thanks in advance. Clyde

terri gillespie said...

Clyde, yes, yes, there are wonderful congregations in Israel. I'd be happy to put you in touch with some.

If you'd like a listing of some of the congregations check out www.mjaa.org and click on links to ministries and resources (located at the lower right hand side) and click on IAMCS.

Angela said...

Thanks, Terri! I knew youd know the answer for Clyde's question! And Clyde, if you can go, be sure to give us a full report!

Angie

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to both of you ... Terri, I will email you; and Angie, a full report will be yours if I am able to slip away from my group for a service. You guys are the BEST!