Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday's Word

It's Yom Kippur tonight - Kol Nidre. The most holy night in the Jewish calendar. I was out for a walk tonight and saw many of my Jewish neighbours walking back from synagogue and had a few conversations. Appropriate that we had communion this morning at church. Most Jews - event the most secular - will fast from a half hour before sundown tonight until a half hour after sunset tomorrow. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment of G-d against you, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

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.

In light of Yom Kippur, I spoke today at church that I have a sense that God is doing some transitioning - some shifting. I am led to feel that for a number of reasons: the significant number of deaths happening around me, the many transitions happening in the lives of the people of Hills (a marriage, kids going to university, workplace issues, a wedding cancellation). There are some significant transitions happening in other churches in Thornhill - pastoral changes, internal difficulties. And yet there are some good things too: lives being changed, people discovering God, spiritual maturity, even some church growth.

However, every time there is positive movement there is resistance - human and spiritual resistance. I listed five ways to respond to this resistance.
1. Hear from God - we need to make a concerted effort to spend time reading Scripture and listening to God
2. We need personal holiness - a commitment to live right all the time - not just live in with what we can get away with. That means quickly dealing with the things in our lives that we have done wrong by confessing them as sin (agreeing with God that it's wrong and not trying to justify it), repenting (turning away from it), and making restitution if we have to. This needs to be done daily - not just once a year (no offense to my Jewish friends).
3. Unity - unity of prayer, lack of strife and unforgiveness among us. Jeshua said that where two or three are gather together He is there in the midst of them.
4. We need to pray - with all kinds of prayer, on all occasions, with all fervency.
5. Action. We need to act out what we believe. We need to live holy, love our neighbours, share our lives and our faith, do good deeds, bless the people around us, and take advantage of the opportunities that God gives us in the divine appointments He creates.

That was my challenge. We are gathered as this little group in this specific place for such a time as this - and we need to be making a difference.

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