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Week Three | Get Yourself Some Haverim

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Week Three | Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus Online Book Study
Reading Assignment – Ch. 5 & 6
Scripture Passage: Matthew 6:9-13
Listen to the Audio version | Read time 8-minutes

In my mid-twenties I made the jump from my conservative, in every way, United Methodist Church to a large non-denominational congregation.  What drew me in, other than the cute guy a friend introduced me to my first time in attendance, was the twenty-somethings group that met weekly to read the Bible and discuss our thoughts.  

I loved every minute of it… until everyone in that group moved out of the area, except me.  No joke!

So for several years, I prayed that God would bring me a new group of friends that would intentionally and eagerly dive into the Word with me as that former group had done.  But not only that, I prayed for a group of friends to do life with, who would be willing to let down their guards, to invite each other in, and to bear the hard burdens.

“If the goal of discipleship is to become Christlike, it’s important that we spend time with others, learning how to love and to be loved and letting our rough edges be sanded away.  We need to learn to tolerate each other’s flaws and to admit our own so that Christ’s Spirit can refine and reshape us.”

Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus

What I didn’t realize, at that time, was that my prayer and longing for this type of community was the type of friendship that is also sought after in Judaism.

Get Yourself Some Haverim

“We tend to believe that the only way to deeply encounter God is through solitary prayer and study.  But Jesus implies that his presence will be felt most often in the presence of a small group of haverim [friends].”

Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus

Since the Intentional Filling Community was formed in 2014, named by the still, small voice within as I contemplated the leap of faith to begin leading an “online book club”, we have been blessed to watch a number of friendships form and blossom.

Over and over again we see phrases like, “kindred spirits” or “cut from the same cloth” used to describe the relationships that are forged through our Thursday evening yeshivas (discussions), our study buddy partnerships, or just in getting to know one another’s journeys.

It is a blessing to find these friendships in our community.  It is also unique to find the intentionality, kavanah, that is made to connect with one other in that space, but especially to find the same intentionality given in pursuit of furthering our relationships with God.

Adult friendships are hard.  They don’t just fall into our laps as they did in the days of dorm room living, where everyone’s door stands wide open to invite you in.  No, adult friendships require effort and intentionality, and a sense of humility as well.

“As Western individualists, we forget what Jesus’s reality was like.  Just think — most of his ministry was spent living side by side with his faithful talmidim [disciples], traveling with them on foot from town to town, camping out everywhere they went.”

Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus

Jesus’ disciples came from a variety of backgrounds.  Some were fishermen.  One was a tax collector.  Yet, they all came together for one purpose, to follow Jesus.  

I can imagine there were some tense moments along the long walks from town to town, or around the campfire in the evenings.  There were likely moments where they all struggled to adjust to the nomadic lifestyle, instead of the settled tribe-like culture surrounded by family.

I’m certain there were many opportunities to smooth out the rough edges.

But one of the most beautiful gifts that I think God has given to us, other than salvation, is the gift of community. After all, God Himself is community, three-in-one. We were made for community, as we were made in His image.

“Becoming each other’s haverim is an effective way to fulfill Jesus’s command to raise up disciples.  Rather than viewing ourselves as the “rabbi” and others as our “disciples,” becoming haverim allows us to take on the role of “co-disciples.”  We can help others grow by learning right alongside them.”

Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus

We see this gift clearly played out in these co-discipling relationships, within the relationships between rabbi and talmidim (disciples), and even in one of the most common and well-known prayers in the Christian faith, The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).

Jesus instructs His talmidim, His disciples, to open their conversation with God with, “Our Father”, a collective title instead of individual.

And we see it in the way that rabbis instruct their disciples that they should have kavanah (intention) in four activities, all that requires communion with God or fellow man:

  1. Prayer
  2. Studying Scripture
  3. Acts of Loving-kindness
  4. Our life’s work

“Ideally, each should be done with a profound awareness of the fact that God is present, desiring to speak and work through us at every moment.”

Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus

What better gift is there?

Let’s recap…

Today we learned:
– Our hunger for connection may be rooted in Judaism
– We were made for community, as God Himself is community
– Discipleship can be under a rabbi, but also with fellow “co-disciples”, a haverim
– The way in which we should approach God is with kavanah (intention)

ANSWER THIS IN THE COMMENTS OR FACEBOOK GROUP —  If “living with kavanah utterly changes our experience of life”, how can you invite this transformation into your own life?  In what ways can you be more intentional with the relationships in your life and with God?

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Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus | Lois Tverberg

A 7-week study to change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus, by taking a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can
transform your faith.

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