Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Thought for Rosh HaShanah 2014

Blessing for the sanctification of the Day:
“Praise to You, Adonai (Lord) our God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has chosen us from all the peoples, hallowing us with mitzvot (commandment). In Your love, Adonai our God, You have given us this Day of Remembrance, to hear the sound of the Shofar, to unite in worship, and to recall the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us from all the peoples, consecrating us to Your service, and Your word is truth eternal. Praised is the Sovereign God, Sovereign of all the world, who hallows the House of Israel and the Day of Remembrance.”
Rosh Hashana begins at sundown this evening (Wednesday the 24th) to signify not only the New Year in the month in which Israel was called out of Egypt but to also begin the ten-day preparation period of prayer, self-examination, and repentance leading to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Oct 3).  For most of us, it will be just another day.  Perhaps a day of blessing, perhaps a day of extreme spiritual challenges, or maybe a day in which our lives will be profoundly affected and radically changed.

This is the essence of the High Holy Days for Israel.  The periods of fasting and praying and inward reflection and repentance are precisely because those who have fallen short of The Lord’s expectations earnestly seek to make one simple resolution: to draw closer to God by drawing closer to one another.  Faithfulness is much more than simply believing something; faithfulness is a determination to more actively and purposefully pursue holiness of heart and mind and soul through faithful living and obedient faith.

Whether we can connect in a real way to Jewish heritage and history (their story IS our story because it is Christ’s story!), it is always a good practice to reflect inwardly, keep a prayer journal, think about all those we have encountered throughout the day, and evaluate those encounters according to how Jesus would direct our day – and then decide whether those we met actually met Christ through us … or not.

It’s a pretty high standard, of course, but it is no less than Christ gave of Himself for us.  To give fully of ourselves is to hold nothing back from our Lord and our neighbor, and it is truly the greatest gift we can offer back to the One who gave us life.

Shanah Tovah, ya’ll!  (Have a good year)


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