20 August 2006

Jewish Views On the Messiah

I have entered a World Religions course and our first religion to examine is Judaism. For those who are interested, we are reading Huston Smith's The World's Religions.

The first and underlying theme in the chapter on Judaism is that the Hebrew faith is unique in that it finds meaning in everything. God, life, suffering, and the Messiah.

Taking a look back at messianic tradition, it comes from the Hebrew word mashiah, which means "anointed". Throughout history, it has been used to refer to those who have been "anointed" by God, meaning mainly leaders of the nation and faith. The tradition of THE Messiah comes from the longing for an ultimate leader and redeemer (this tradition, while some propehcies can be found all the way back in Genesis, really got its start during the Babylonian Captivity of Israel).

There are several views on what THE Messiah will be. Some believe that he will be a political leader, helping the people of God to conquer their foes. Others believe that he will be a religous leader, renewing the faith of the nations. There are also views that he will be a literal person, a king or prophet better than any before. Others beleive that God will be the Messiah, that he will skip using a man and do the job himself. Those who thought that the Messiah would be human figured he would restore the Davidic monarchy, while those who thought that God would be the Messiah expected him to do away with government.

But here's the cool part: They're all right. During Jesus's time on Earth, he was a religous leader, founding his Church and telling his disciples to share his Love. When he returns, he will gather his people and set up his Kingdom. And both times, he was fully man and fully God.

Rock on.

09 August 2006

All You Need is Love

1 Corinthians 13

Ok, I'll admit it. I like the Beatles, so the title of this piece is biased. But that's alright with me.

John Lennon was correct when he wrote those lyrics. They are some of the most profound, and yet blatantly obvious words, ever spoken. And probably somewhat misunderstood. Because in today's society, love is anything but Love. Love has been used to express feelings ("I love music") and the status of a relationship ("We're in Love"). Love is seen as something that happens. One little change, and the Love is gone. But that's not how it works.

In this chapter, Paul reminds of the characteristics of Love. Love is what makes spiritual matters important. Love is perfect. Love never fails. Love does not anger easily (this, however, is not to say that Love does not anger). In short, Love is more important than anything else.

Why is this? It is because all Love comes from God. The Love of God, shown on the Cross at Calvary, is obviously his gift to us. But so is the Love for God, family, and friends.

But there's another reason. A deeper one. Love is so much more than just a gift from God, but as we learn in 1 John 4:7-21, God IS Love.

Rock on.