"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." ~ Mark 10:45 (NKJV)
Yom Kippur is the most holy day in the Jewish calendar.
Granted, things have changed a bit for those of us who know the Messiah, but I authentically believe it's important to remember the story, events, and critical figures of Judaism.
For those who know me at all, you know I am an Old Testament lover and great admirer of the Jewish people, so this will not surprise you. To me, their story is our story, their story is our foundation. After all, our Savior was Jewish.
There is, however, a vast difference between the approaches to atonement and repentance among the Jewish people and those of Christian believers.
In Judaism, on Yom Kippur, God's chosen people are forgiven, purified, and cleansed of the sins of the previous year. Fasting, abstinence from washing, lotions, oils, leather shoes, and intimacy is exercised and prayers for forgiveness take their place.
For forty days before, the shofar is blown each morning and Psalm 27 (below) is recited after morning and afternoon prayers.
May I just take a quick moment to tell you how much I love the sound of a shofar? It shakes something loose in me, I feel somehow clearer and more ready to take on the world with our Heavenly Father by my side.
I was speaking with a Rabbi friend on Rosh Hashanah and said, "I have to confess, I put peppermint oil inside my shofar, otherwise it's like kissing a goat!" He looked at me and said, "Are you kidding me? When I blow this one it smells like a barn!" I felt so validated! :) But, I digress...
The traditions of Yom Kippur... Extra measures of charity are offered, blessings are given to children, candles are lit, a Yizkor memorial prayer is said for the departed, and really all of the above is only a glimpse, the tip of the iceberg.
It is a beautiful, powerful, wonderful holy-day.
Those who practice Yom Kippur take it as a time of introspection, a time of prayer, and a time of asking for forgiveness, because we all know that we are far too human to perfectly abide by the Law, as articulated in the First Testament.
Even though Yom Kippur is a deeply solemn holiday, there is joy, there is faith that God will hear the petitions of the penitent, forgive them, and will write and seal them in the Book of Life.
While it is a beautiful practice, one in which I am very blessed to participate, it's a little at odds with what we believe as followers of Yeshua.
As believers, we can certainly take the moment to look inside, look at who we are in the world, and in our introspection remember what took place to grant us forgiveness once and for all, to wash our sins clean. We are still human and still incapable of abiding by the Law.
We're still sinners.
We do our best, but we fail.
No matter what, it is a perfect occasion to take spiritual stock and focus on the privilege that is our relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and to give thanks for the gift of His sacrifice.
We know repentance means turning away from the error of our ways and into the arms of our Father, through the grace and mercy offered by the Son. We know it means surrendering all at the Throne and forever turning from the ways of our old wineskin selves.
And, again, we're human. Unless you're far more Christlike than I, we all err anew.
The practice of Teshuvah (repentance) that goes along with Yom Kippur was once explained to me as having 5 principles that continue to stick with me.
* Be sincere with your Heavenly Father. Be true to who you are as His child. Come before Him with childlike faith, and do come before Him. He wants to hear from you, visit with you, and have you rest in His embrace.
* Set God before you, always, in an awareness of His continuous creation and partnership with you, here and now.
* Love His children as yourself, authentically from the goodness in your heart.
* In all your ways, know Him. See His hand at work, moment by moment.
* And, discreetly walk with your Father in Heaven. (Think Matthew 6:17-18) We want to be careful our faith does not become about us, about ego. So, while we shine His Light in the world, we keep the spotlight on Him.
In the tradition of my Jewish friends, "May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life."
In the tradition of the followers of the Messiah, may you know His Peace all the days of your life. May you ever walk in His Light and grace and mercy. May you be blessed with great faith all the days of your life.
All this I pray to our Abba Father above, in the name of our Savior Yeshua, Jesus.
Amen. *** A well honored Yom Kippur to you, friend.
"For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the LORD from all your sins." ~ Leviticus 16:30 (ESV)
"Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets. You must observe it as an official day for holy assembly, a day to deny yourselves and present special gifts to the LORD." ~ Leviticus 23:27 (NLT)
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us." ~ 1 John 1:8 (GNT)
"Nor do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will spill out, and the skins will be ruined. Instead, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved." ~ Matthew 9:17 (ISV)
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace..." ~ Ephesians 1:7 (ESV)
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— whom shall I dread? 2 When the wicked came upon me to devour my flesh, my enemies and foes stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army encamps around me, my heart will not fear; though a war breaks out against me, I will keep my trust. 4 One thing I have asked of the LORD; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek Him in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be held high above my enemies around me. At His tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, my voice when I call; be merciful and answer me. 8 My heart said, “Seek His face.” Your face, O LORD, I will seek. 9 Hide not Your face from me, nor turn away Your servant in anger. You have been my helper; do not leave me or forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path, because of my oppressors. 12 Do not hand me over to the will of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. 13 Still I am certain to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. ~ Psalm 27 (BSB)
"He did not do this to offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, He would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself." ~ Hebrews 9:25-26 (HCSB)
"But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting isn't obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." ~ Matthew 6:17-18 (CSB)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
A truly lovely wonderful bonus song of praise... ♥