December 1, 2009
If you like community, you'll like chapter five.
Welcome to week five of our "LiveBooking" tour through Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. I can't quite put my finger on the reason, but I was pretty excited by chapter 5. Maybe you can help me figure out why. :)
It's Haver Time
Spangler and Tverberg begin this chapter by spotlighting the Jewish practice of studying with a haver—a friend willing to partner with you in grappling with Scripture. Even more, a haverim was a group of students who learned together, asked questions of each other, debated, and explained.
This quote from the book gives a little more detail:
Was Jesus aware of this approach to studying Scripture? Consider the words of the early rabbis, who said: "When two sit together and exchange words of Torah, then the Divine Presence dwells among them." Now, listen to the words of Jesus: "Where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them" (Matthew 18:20).
Like other Jewish teachers of his time, Jesus affirmed his followers' need for community. What's more, since Jesus is himself the Word of God, it makes sense that he would promise to be present as we come together to study the Scriptures.
Our Westernized minds may struggle with this idea. 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.
Can I get an amen?!
So, Which One?
That quote started a question rattling around in my head, and I'll turn to all of you to help me answer it: Where does the deepest spiritual formation usually happen? Alone or in community? Does the Holy Spirit speak best to us in a "still, small voice" when we are alone, or do we best encounter the Spirit when two or three are gathered in Jesus' name?
posted by Sam O'Neal on December 1, 2009 1:51 PM