Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur

This is a few days late, but better late than never, right?

Saturday was the Day of Atonement, also called Yom Kippur, or even the Holiest Day of the Year. In Leviticus 16, God tells Moses what the priests are supposed to do. They're to offer up sacrifices for the sins of Israel. It was the time of the year when God would atone for the entire nation. He tells the people to regard the day as a special Sabbath and to "deny themselves." Traditionally, this has been interpreted as fasting.

This weekend, my husband and I fasted, and to add extra denial, I didn't get on my computer all day. If you know me personally, you know it's a big feat. I spent the morning reading and praying, and in the afternoon, we went to a local congregation. then we came home and napped until the sun went down, haha! It's crazy how much energy you DON'T have when you don't eat.

Now, I'm worried about this post that it might come across as arrogant. I know what Jesus said about fasting -- don't tell everyone about it -- but I'd like to share the things I do to become closer to God. Really, Yom Kippur is about recognizing that nothing I can do will ever earn me forgiveness. It all depends on the mercy of God. Though some sects act as though the more they afflict themselves, the more forgiveness they will receive, the fasting for me was just a way to humble myself before the God of all creation.

What is even cooler about this holiday is the echoes of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews says Jesus is our true high priest. Instead of working in the temple made my human hands, he is working in the true temple where God dwells (8:5-6). Instead of offering sacrifices over and over again, he made one ultimate sacrifice for our sins (10:11-14). And instead of cleaning us merely outwardly, he cleansed our souls (9:13-14).

So each year on Yom Kippur, I thank God for his Son's sacrifice. I reflect on how my sins have separated me from God. I humble myself before my maker. But I also rejoice because my sins have been completely erased by the blood of the lamb.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful humanity to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in human flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." ~Romans 8:1-4

Tonight starts the Feast of Tabernacles, also called Sukkot. I'll write about that soon!

1 comment:

  1. There are so many interpretations of different things that I will admit it is refreshing to have you share yours. I don't know anything, sadly, about Yom Kippur so this was enlightening.