Well, the Feast of Trumpets (or Feast of Shouting) is over according the Jewish calendar and the next appointed time is quickly approaching. It is yom Kippur (the day of atonement). According to the Jewish calendar, the day of Atonement is from this coming Tuesday, Sept. 18th, after sundown, to Wednesday, Sept. 19th, after sundown.
The day of atonement is a very solemn day in the yearly cycle of God’s appointed times. It is the day where we reflect on the past year and repent of sins that have crept in, both in our personal lives and our corporate lives (our family, our church or synagogue, and our country). Yes, I said our ‘corporate’ lives. Much of what God has to say to us is directed at the whole body of believers, not just individuals. That concept can be seen throughout the scriptures.
God gives us a couple commands for this day. And actually, those commands are rather forceful in their presentation compared to the commands for the other feasts. Two of the commands stand out. One is that the day is to be treated as a very strict sabbath – no work whatsoever. Second is that we are to ‘afflict ourselves.’ So no work of any kind – a strict sabbath of rest, and ‘afflict’ ourselves. The only definition for ‘afflict’ in this context is that which has been understood by the Jews for millennia. And that is to fast. All those that can should fast.
I’m looking forward to the day. It is a chance to really look at oneself, and one’s country, honestly. I like reading through the traditional Jewish prayer (the ‘al Chet’ prayer) for the day as it lists all manner of sin – both physical and thought related – and really gets me to think. There exists such ‘lists’ also in Christianity (the catechism of Westminster – the 10 commandments section – comes to mind). If you can, find such a prayer / list / sermon and read through it thoughtfully and prayerfully.
I think that the practice of deeply reflecting once a year is quite important and of great benefit, especially as God set it up for us to follow. He made us and knows what we need.
So, take a day (or as much as you can – not as much as you are comfortable with, but as much as you can, up to the full 24 hours) and reflect. And repent. And pray. And think about any changes that you need to make in your life, or how you can affect our culture for good. And remember what Yeshua (Jesus) has done for us!