The Disciple Scroll by Allan Rabinowitz

In 2010, I had the rich blessing to be part of a Down Ancient Paths experience led by my special friend Charles. During our trek through Syria, Jordan, and Israel, we were treated to some of the best guides in the Middle East.  

allanOn a level all his own was a fellow named Allan Rabinowitz. A storyteller extraordinaire, Allan could make mounds of rock come alive, as if ruins whispered their tales into his ears. He has avidly studied the land and the history of Israel for more than 25 years, even hiking large portions of the countryside, including all 1000 KM of the Israel Trail.

But when the “official” tour was done, what Allan really loved to talk about were the Old Testament prophets, specifically Jeremiah. In fact, if one listened long enough, mention might arise of a novel Allan had been lovingly labouring over for years–an historical exploration of the Prophet of Sorrow’s life, as seen through the eyes of his scribe Baruch.  Admiring both Allan’s expertise and passion on his subject matter–and dreaming of writing myself–I asked him questions about his writing process and his plan for publishing.

Upon returning home, I tucked into the back of my mind a note to keep an ear to the ground for Allan’s book down the road.  Re-discovering that note recently, I was pleasantly surprised to finally find Allan’s name on both Amazon (Kindle) and Smashwords (All Sorts of Formats). Apparently, Allan chose to E-publish, meaning you cannot purchase a bound and printed version of his work.

But don’t let that stop you!

(The flip-side is that you can own this treasure for under $4 and read it however you want.)

disciple scrollI just finished the novel and can vouch for its worth.  What a gem!  Even if you’ve never met Allan, you will quickly know that you are reading the work of a gifted storyteller. The days of Jerusalem’s demise at the hands of Babylon come to life in frightening ways, and the life of the prophet Jeremiah becomes vivid like never before as you work your way through these pages.

When I visited with Allan in 2010, he spoke of this novel as if it was the project of his life. So what happens when you take a gifted and passionate individual and then skim off the very best they have to offer over years of their life?

You get something like “The Disciple’s Scroll”.

I hope you will get it!

Miserere Mei, Deus

The above title is Latin for “Have mercy on me, O God,” a phrase from Psalm 51.

It is also the title of a stunningly beautiful piece of music composed by Gregorio Allegri sometime around the 1630’s.  It was intended for exclusive use in the Sistine Chapel during the morning services of Holy Week.  These services typically began around 3:00 AM, and during the rituals, candles would be extinguished until only one remained.

At some point, it became forbidden to transcribe this music and was allowed to be performed only at the services described above, adding to the mystery surrounding it.  However, in 1770, a fourteen-year-old Mozart was visiting Rome.  Hearing the piece for the first time during the Wednesday morning service, he left the chapel to write it down from memory.  It is said that he returned on Friday for a second listen to make some minor revisions.  He published the piece a year later, effectively ending the “ban” and earning him surprising praise from the Pope, who was understandably astounded at the musical genius before him.

When your schedule today will fifteen minutes of listening, press “play” on the video below and be blessed by this once mysterious, ever-majestic creation, dedicated to the Creator and Redeemer of all.


The Position of Power: Time to Kneel

In doing a bit of research about the Moravian movement, I came across this article.  Below is one clip from it that stirs the embers of my all-too-weak, but always-dreaming-to-be-more prayer life.

Seriously, can anything less than people desperately seeking God bring genuine revival on both personal and corporate levels?

From my kitchen chair, a touch after midnight, I vote, “No.”

In May 1727, Count Zinzendorf and the leaders of the community felt God calling them to prayer at a deeper level. They committed themselves to praying round the clock, beginning a 24/7 prayer meeting that lasted over 100 years involving not only the adults but the children of the movement. In August of that the minister at the Sunday morning service was “overwhelmed by the wonderful and irresistible power of the Lord.” A move of God broke out, with people testifying that “hardly knew whether they belonged to earth or had already gone to heaven. We saw the hand of God and were all baptized with his Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst.” Over 10 years later John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church visited the community where the revival was still taking place. He experienced a powerful encounter with God that was to shape his own personal relationship with God and his ministry.

Inspiration from John Wesley

Researching recently a bit about John Wesley, I came upon this line:

“Though his understanding of both justification and the assurance varied throughout his life, Wesley never stopped preaching the importance of faith for salvation and the witness of God’s Spirit with the belief that one was, indeed, a child of God.”

Wesley would accurately be called a heavyweight in church history–a figure of influence and impact with lasting (and labeled) influence being seen still in the Methodist movement and the Holiness movement.  All that to say: This is a big fellow in the history of Christianity, with a sharp mind and a robust faith.

Yet the quote above speaks to movement and variance in his faith.  There was journey, and not always in a steady, upward direction.

And that makes me smile a small smile, for that is my road too.  And for all the stress that I have felt from times of uncertainty, longing for firmer ground and a steadier spirit, it appears that God is quite able to use such wobbly folks as this.

I’m grateful that this is so.