A few literary snapshots of a wonderful, restful week-end.
Each week at the Adat (Messianic Fellowship) whose service we attended on Saturday morning the assembly prays 2 blessings. The first is for the women in the congregation. Many of the men were wearing tzitzits (prayer shawls) and during the blessing their wives would lean into them while the men covered them with their tzitzit. I saw a couple of men stand over their wives to include daughters and put their tzitzit's over both. Together, the men speak a blessing over the women, acknowledging the good blessing that they (the women) bring in to their lives.. It was no quick and simple prayer. It was a powerful, moving blessing, strengthened by the laying on of a loved one’s hands. These men were claiming sovereignty over what was theirs. It was a beautiful portrait of what men should be; claiming their families, taking authority to pray for and over them. If it sounds patronizing or condescending, then I'm not explaining it right; it was anything but. These men were acting like men. They were claiming leadership and authority over people- their people. They were providing an example to their sons and daughters of servant leadership, humility, corporate prayer, acknowledgement of the blessing of marriage.
The 2nd blessing was for the children. All of the children were invited up front to stand under a canopy. Once they were all assembled the congregation sang, "A Sabbath Prayer," reverently, in harmony. I sat and wept it was so moving. The kids standing there, looking at a group of people who were singing a blessing over them, casting a vision, prayerfully, intentionally, faithfully. This is what it means for a church to take their children seriously; time and intention by the leadership and people of the assembly.
Each week, after the blessing, an elder of the church goes to teach the children. The kids dance, sing and are a taught by a leader of the assembly who consider educating their children one of their vital responsibilities. What a contrast to most church’s where getting Sunday school workers is a heroic effort. A beautiful example of men standing up and claiming responsibility and authority for what is theirs; the children in their care, the legacy of their community.