I’ve had a few days to process the wonderful time I had at the inaugural South Carolina National Shabbat gathering last week. I’ve been trying to think of ways to describe the experience and hope I can convey what is on my heart.
When Pete & Kelly Rambo visited our congregation to share about their experience in Israel attending the Bney Yosef National Congress in May, my husband Tommy & I felt our hearts leap with joy. We knew this was something we needed to be connected with and scheduled a visit with the Rambo’s to hear more about the gathering and begin building a relationship with them.
Pete & Kelly invited us to attend the September gathering of the Bney Yosef National Shabbat in Georgia. We read these words on the invite: “Enjoy prayer, fellowship, food, & nation building. We cannot build the nation of Yisrael alone, we need each other.” The words struck our hearts again. The gathering was more than we anticipated. We met new friends and reconnected with some we had not seen in a while. We sang, danced, prayed, ate, and built relationships. Something wonderful happened and we wanted it to continue.
The Rambos & Wilsons began to pray about starting a similar gathering in South Carolina. The idea was to let Abba lead us every step of the way. If this was something He was doing, He would orchestrate it. That is exactly what happened! When we deviated from His path, we were gently corrected and redirected. He exceeded our expectations in so many ways!
As I reflect on the process of planning, execution, and implementation, I realize there are some areas we could improve on. I sent out a survey to those who attended for feedback and am looking forward to their responses.
One thing I would like to address now is what exactly was this gathering all about?
The originator of the National Shabbat, Tzefanyah ben Yochanon, put it into these words:
The Bney Yosef National Shabbat – What it is and what it isn’t.In North Georgia and surrounding states, a new grass roots move of the Ruach HaKodesh has started inspired by the B’ney Yosef National Congress held at the end of May 2015 in Ariel, Israel. We are calling this the B’ney Yosef National Shabbat. Why the name? It is a result of the reversal of a curse spoken of by the prophet Hoshea 1, “Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived, and bore a son. 9 He said, “Call his name Lo-Ammi ; for you are not my people, and I will not be yours. 10 Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which can’t be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ 11 The children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint themselves one head, and will go up from the land; for great will be the day of Jezreel.Our greatness is our unity. A unity which can only be experienced through efforts to rebuild the nation of B’ney Yosef/Ephraim. These are not our own efforts but inspired by Scripture and the Ruach HaKodesh.
Once a month, there will be a Shabbat experience that will bring Northern Israelites together from fellowships, congregations, and homes to express and declare to Avinu that we are the people of Northern Israel. There will be no teaching but occasional presentations about our national restoration and Scriptural discussions promoting a national outlook. A band is forming to bring live worship and dance and then sharing of a meal together. The momentum is moving in a way that only the Ruach HaKodesh could orchestrate. The oil has been flowing and important connections are being made. Some were close to tears during our initial Shabbat. Hearts were moved and inspired seeing the reality of a people who were not people coming forth. Will B’ney Yosef be the next nation born in a day? We have learned that taking small steps really makes a difference.
We as the people of Yosef are still walking in the sin of Jeroboam to this very day. We are erecting golden calves and altars to ourselves and we have made these doctrines as mighty ones. We’ve taken what we believe to be “important” doctrines and imposed them upon others. Imposing our our doctrinal views on others do not edify or encourage anyone. These discussions, for instance, can include how to pronounce YHWH/YHVH, the calendar, how and what form we should worship, etc. If someone attempts a discussion in these areas with someone, then, they do not understand the National Shabbat’s purpose. There are so many areas we agree, but in the past we’ve been guilty of gravitating toward issues where there is a great diversity of opinion. We’ve neglected to respect these diverse opinions. When we refuse to respect diverse Scriptural opinions, we re-enact over and over again the curse that we are not a people. Will we declare as we gather that we are one people again? It will only happen if we lay controversial doctrines down and embrace one another as a national people. Let us make this clear, however, we do NOT want to encourage anyone who is walking defiantly against the Word of YHWH. There are plenty of places in Scripture that clearly spell out what wickedness is. The B’ney Yosef National Shabbat will never be a gathering that tolerates wickedness.
To make this abundantly clear. This is not a congregation. This is not a denomination. This is a time, one Shabbat a month, where we can declare and believe that Avinu Malkenu (Our Father, Our King) is making a people once again!Praise be to the Holy One of Israel. Oh King of Israel bring us home!!
To quote a portion of this:
“Once a month there will be a Shabbat experience that will bring Northern Israelites together from fellowships, congregations, and homes to express and declare to Avinu that we are the people of Northern Israel. There will be no teaching but occasional presentations about our national restoration and Scriptural discussions promoting a national outlook.”
“This is not a congregation. This is not a denomination. This is a time, one Shabbat a month, where we can declare and believe that Avinu Malkenu (Our Father, Our King) is making a people once again!”
Hallelujah! This concept is a paradigm shift for all of us. We need to begin thinking “outside the established box”.
I’ve been on this Torah journey for 20+ years and have seen and heard the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s time for brethren to truly walk in unity with diversity.
Unite: come or bring together for a common purpose or action
Diverse: showing a great deal of variety, very different
[1Co 12:18-20,27 HNV] 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now they are many members, but one body.27 Now you are the body of Messiah, and members individually.
Our congregations, fellowships, & homes have a unique purpose. We are unified by a common purpose: our desire to walk out the Torah to the best of our ability and the desire to be regathered into a nation. We are diverse in the many ways we express these concepts. We need to find the common ground and start there. That is why these gatherings are happening.
As a fellow Israelite friend said to me, “After all, we will all be together one day…are we all going to stay in our own ‘rooms’ or come out and fellowship with the rest of the family!?!?!?!?!?!”