Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement
Our Jewish friends are observing Yom Kippur, the Day of
Atonement. Unlike other major Jewish holidays, this high
holy day is not related to historical events. Yom Kippur
and Rosh Hashanah are "Days of Awe," so called to
bring attention to the fact of God's role as Master of the
Yom Kippur is considered the most sacred day in the
Jewish calendar, although I have been told that, legally,
the Sabbath surpasses it in importance. It is on Yom
Kippur that kneeling and prostration are adopted as
postures of prayer. The book of Nehemiah chapter 8
teaches that "Ezra blessed the Lord... and the people
answered, Amen, Amen, with the lifting up of their hands;
and they bowed their heads, and fell down before the Lord
with their faces to the ground."
According to the Talmud, all of man's actions of the past
year are judged by God on Rosh Hashanah, and on Yom
Kippur judgment is rendered. Thus the Jews refer to these
as the "Days of Awe."
Christians could learn some principles of reverence here.
We should hold everything about God as something of
awe. We sing, "Our God is an Awesome God." But singing
it and acting as though it were true are two different things.
All too often we take the presence of God for granted or as
if it were our due.
The four mighty seraphim hover over the divine Throne,
two wings covering their faces, two wings covering their
feet, the remaining two wings holding them in a hovering
position as they cry out, "Holy, Holy, Holy." Our thanks go
to our Jewish friends for reminding us again on this high
holy day of the awe of God.
More from Christianity's Jewish Roots
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