One of the cool things about DVDs is that if you want you can watch the scenes that got cut. This is especially cool in a movie like Iron Man, which is kind of short & leaves you wanting more.

Well you Journey regulars may not appreciate it, but before I even got to the worship center for the first of our 3 services (Friday Night) I had already cut a point & a clip from the message. Heck, we might still be there if I didn’t!

Because of some licensing issues, I can’t post the clip, but if you have the movie, start watching at the 18-minute mark for about 2.5 minutes. It is the scene were Jamal & Salim’s mother is killed when a mob of Hindu zealots attack his Muslim part of the slum. A vicious blow to the head kills their mother & the two little boys are left to fend for themselves. As he is remembering & recounting this part of his story he makes a powerfully disturbing statement:
“If it were not for Ram and Allah I would still have a mother.” Ram is the blue Hindu god Ramah that you see when they are running for their lives.

Here was the point on the outline:
➢    Destiny comes from God (Him) not religion (IT)…so immerse often in the glory of God

There is a tendency that we have to fight called “reification” – the “THING-IF-Y-ING” of something that is alive & dynamic. What Jesus invites us to is interaction with a person, not the performance of a religion. The way is a “person” not a system or dharma, or a Tao.

Michael Wyschogrod, a Jewish theologian says this: “The God of Israel has a proper name. There is not fact in Jewish theology more significant than this.”

We sometimes miss this in our English Bibles because the name YHWH (commonly agreed to be pronounced Yahweh) is almost universally translated as upper case LORD. Today, in synagogues of all stripes when you are reading the text you see YHWH but you say ADONAI – Lord. Whether this is a good thing or not is for another blog post. But it is easy for us to lose how often the scriptures refer to this person to whom Israel is called into relationship.

Mark Kinzer, the president of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (click here for MJTI) says something really interesting about this. “Ultimately, all Jewish theological studies is a meditation & reflection on the mystery of the Divine name.”

A very common way that our Jewish friends refer to God is “Ha-Shem” – Ha = the. Shem = Name. Beruch HaShem – bless “the Name” you will hear a lot.

Kinzer: “In a literal sense, traditional Jews do not engage in theology. Instead, we practice Hashem-ology!”

I love that! I say this as much as I can: Christianity is not a thing that we do it is a person that we love.

But it is easier at times to just do stuff, to follow the dharma – whether it be Christian, Hindu, Muslim or secular. That is where it goes south. When my religion becomes MY religion, basically it is just a way to affirm my own rightness, my own sense of being deserving of privilege.

The unique thing about the… let’s call it “faith” … about the faith revealed in Jesus is that it all rests in connection with Him, with a person. He came to reconcile us to a Person. He came to bring those who are far away, near… to a Person; he came to redeem us (buy us back) for a Person. He came to enable us to keep the commandments, which are to love a Person & thus persons.

Our destiny will come to us in a PERSON! “Behold I stand at the door & knock”

Paul has a line about our final destiny in 1 Thessalonians 4:17… “thus we shall ever be (not ‘in heaven’ – good place) WITH the Lord” (a person).

Keep it personal!

** Michael Wyschogrod & Mark Kinzer quotes form Verge, a newsletter from Messianic Jewish Theological Institute.