Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious Psalm,The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word.~Emma Lazarus, "The Feast of Lights"
Hanukkah: the Feast of Lights, the feast of Dedication. None of our little home church will be around for the actual feast days. Ditz & I will be in Singapore. Our other family will be on a ship cruise. Still all of us have shared a spiritual journey this year & we wanted to celebrate. Everyone was keen for another New Moon festival, communion, Hanukkah, Christmas... & in my wisdom I thought, ach! Why not combine the lot? So we did; sort of. Christmas rather missed out, which is interesting.
So some rather interesting things happen spiritually. Firstly despite the work & preparation these festivals have not proved to be stressful. Big YAY! Secondly, we gave the preparation this time to the family with the gift of hospitality ~ not us, sad to say. Thirdly, God is working in our very inept attempts to follow His leading in this area.
We have done a new moon festival before when I explained the scriptural significance of what we were doing & why so I was thinking I could dispense with all that this time...until informed that our hospitality driven hosts had invited 3 other couples!!! I about died. Not because they weren't welcome but primarily because in our group I am the one who does the bulk of the teaching. It's just worked out that I am the one with the interest & access to research but I am really, really sensitive to the fact many Christians, especially conservative Christians, have issues with women in any sort of leadership role. Given we are doing some things that uninformed people could construe as wacky new~age stuff there were issues that needed to be addressed right at the beginning. No, we are not advocating coming under Jewish Law for we are saved by grace. No, we are not O.T Christians. No, this is not new age anything! Yes, we are relooking at the O.T in light of Jesus Christ because let's face it people, Jesus was a practising Jew. To know & understand Christ better it is helpful to understand exactly what He believed & taught ~ & as an observant Jew He most certainly partook in the festivals!
Hanukkah is perhaps the easiest festival to celebrate for beginners. No elaborate preparation is necessary & the colourful candles make explanations easy, even for children. Just the same with 15 of us gathered on the verandah, most with no idea of what they'd let themselves in for, & less idea of what I was rabbitting on about, there is only one place to put my trust ~ Jesus Christ, who promised that we would be given the words to say.
Now, as an aside, I usually wear a covering ~ see piccie ~ & I am well aware most women who wear a covering do so to show their submission to the headship of their husband. I think Dearest would die on the spot if anyone suggested any such thing to him, so that is not why I wear a covering. However, women who pray & prophesy [speak forth the word of God] are required to cover & the Holy Spirit brought this to my attention when I first began to speak publicly. You wanna bet I felt funny turning up at church with a bit of cloth on my head! You wanna bet that I got some very funny looks ~ & snarky comments. I don't mind being a fool for Christ but I have always found it difficult to explain my reasoning because so many people, still, don't like women in the pulpit at all! For any reason. However, apart from it being a scriptural requirement of women who prophesy or pray in public, I have found it really does serve as a reminder that I do not speak on my own authority but under the Headship of the Holy Spirit.
The long explanation on covering is because I am very aware of being able to tell the difference when what I speak forth is of God & what is just me rambling away. As can other people. being only too human it would be very easy for me to get a major swelled head. The covering serves as a reminder that I speak for Christ & I'd better be jolly careful to get my stuff right. I also don't lead. One of our men always does that ~ & the communion. Like my daughters I don't like responsibility.
Lastly we keep an open heart before God so that the flow of the Holy Spirit is not impeded & people are free to ask questions or comment or share what God has laid on their heart & revealed to them.
Dearest has a broken back so sitting for long periods is not very easy for him. We left after desert but the blokes were really getting into it & discussing scriptural matters, which delighted me. I have attended too many *fellowship meals* where anything but scripture was discussed. At least one of the new people wants to come to today's home church ~ for which Ditz & I will be absent due to sectional rehearsals. And a good thing too. Our little church has tripled in just 2 weeks & people need to know that I am not in charge. Everything gets shared around according to people's gifts & there is a place for everyone.
Well, Ditz & I have a boat to catch ~ & a long day ahead of us. Have a blessed Sunday, folks.