By Ron First
The CMJ USA Texas Hill Country team was so excited about the plans that we had for our Sukkot celebration! We had a week of festivities planned with three enthusiastic and prominent local churches. The schedule also included teachings by Dr. Terry Harman (The Tabernacle Man) at each church. Sadly, Dr. Harman had to cancel his appearances during Sukkot. Despite the fact that the Lord did not allow the planned events to happen as scheduled, we were still able to host a very productive Pastor’s Appreciation Dinner and one of our churches held a Sukkot event celebrating the first day of the feast!
The first night of Sukkot, CMJ co-laboring congregation Christ Our King Anglican Church (COK) celebrated with a sukkah (tabernacle, booth), a short Sukkot teaching, videos of Israel, along with great fellowship! COK has experience celebrating Sukkot and other Leviticus 23 feasts throughout the years, but this year’s festivities were special as they were joined by Roca Fuerte, the Spanish-language church that rents COK’s sanctuary for Sunday afternoon services. A large part of Roca Fuerte attended and contributed to this wonderful event. The fellowship hall was full to capacity with adults and kids of all ages. COK children’s director Catherine Howanstine engaged the children with activities in the sukkah.
Our Sukkot week culminated in a Pastor’s Appreciation dinner at my home on the Sabbath that was the penultimate night of Sukkot. We hosted 11 people, including a pastor of an area church, his wife, worship leader and youth director! It proved to be a wonderful time of fellowship, worshiping the Lord through kiddush,* oneg,* Bible study/discussion, prayer – culminating in us entering the sukkah at our home. This was the first Sukkot event and Shabbat experience for our friends at Calvary Baptist Church of San Marcos! We are encouraged that a relationship forged with this one extremely supportive Hill Country church was reestablished and strengthened – perhaps for future CMJ events!
*kiddush – literally meaning sanctification, it is a blessing recited over wine (or grape juice) and wine to sanctify Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
*oneg – literally meaning joy, it is the ritual of eating, singing, and fellowshipping together during Shabbat
Lord willing and should he tarry, perhaps next year we will resurrect our original multi-church Sukkot project and have Dr. Terry Harman visit us and present his insights and truths about the foreshadowing of Jesus in every aspect of the tabernacle! Even so Maranatha Lord Jesus!
Ron First serves as the southwest coordinator of CMJ USA. He is a Jewish follower of Jesus excited to tell anyone how he met the risen Messiah. Ron is a retired professional musician and educator. He owns Christian Insurance Services and lives with his wife Journeth in New Braunfels, Texas. Invite Ron to teach at your church: email@example.com.