Tonight and all day tomorrow the Jewish people will celebrate Yom Kippur, the "day of atonement." Here is a description of it from Judiasm 101:
The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.
As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. It is well-known that you are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur.
(Orthodox Jews leave out the vowels in "God" out of reverence for his name. This is why you'll see them write "YHWH" instead of "Yahweh", his proper name.)
This just makes me SO glad to know that Christ's blood covers all of my sins, past, present and future. There is no last chance, or last appeal while I am on the earth. His mercy covers the law! At the same time, I am inspired by their remembrance, by their annual righting of wrongs to one another. Keeps the relational slate clean, you know?
Perhaps we should spend today thanking God for his mercy, for the fact that we can approach his throne boldly and call him by name. Perhaps we should also spend some time evaluating who we need to reconcile with or make amends to. Not because of the law of Yom Kippur, but because Christ covers and indwells us.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Great thoughts from Traci's friend Denise for the day: