A Messianic Jewish Imagination is the way we think teach and describe the ideal messianic Jewish experience. I have borrowed the term “imagination” from Walter Brueggemann who uses this word to describe the way clergy should communicate the alternative reality of the Good News. He describes preaching as “…the ready, steady, surprising proposal that in the real world in which God invites us to live is not the one made available by the rulers of this age.” (Finally Comes The Poet p.3)
A few years ago I wrote several posts about the Messianic Jewish Imagination as applied in general to the Messianic Jewish Movement. In fact i began the second installment with the paragraph above. But over the past year or more I have been thinking much about where we are going as a local congregation. Recently I attended the UMJC mid year Leadership meeting and we were asked to write a brief paragraph called “My Dream Congregation”. I suppose another way of saying “dream Congregation” could be messianic Jewish Imagination. Here is what I wrote:
A Jewish community in which people, young and old, who identify with our values experience dynamic relationship, intellectual stimulation, vitality, acceptance, spiritual growth and delight centered in Messiah Yeshua.
This is not a statement that we as a congregation have adopted but it is what I see as the place we want to be continually moving toward. It is a type of Jewish community that i would not call traditional but rather progressive in the sense that we uphold faith in Yeshua the Messiah and are inclusive of Gentiles yet valuing Jewish tradition, worship and concerns – a way of life. We could call it an alternative way of life. It is a life that is counter to the culture in which we live. It is a life of radical love and radical sevanthood. It is a life that is shared with others that gives us a glimpse of the future.
This week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, is helpful in this brief discussion because it describes this way of life. It is about living in community in such a way that demonstrates devotion to the God of Israel, dignity to people, kindness and benevolence; righteousness and justice. The values that lie behind these laws are the values that we esteem.
Yeshua shared this vision when he said “Behold the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” My hope is that by living according to our values that we will continually move forward toward the goal. As we move toward that goal may we be a living example of Messiah Yeshua and the age to come.