Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Prayers for and with our Jewish elder siblings...

Tonight begins the most solemn time for the Jewish People: Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.

I meant to post something earlier, but didn't get home till just now.

I don't know how many Jewish believers read this blog, but to those who do: a blessed Yom Kippur!

The rest of us would do well to reflect on:

1) The uncountable debt we owe the Jews. God chose them to know his Name, to enter into covenant with him, and be--as Isaiah said--a "light to the nations."

2) This is the day each year when the high priest would offer sacrifice to atone for the people. Those of us who are Christians, of course, think of our Lord Jesus Christ. We need the very same mercy; and the cost paid by our Lord was awful. We can never give enough reflection to what the Cross really means.

3) We Christians must always remember what Saint Paul said in his letter to the Romans: that the role of God's Chosen People in the plan of salvation remains incomplete. God's plan is bigger and more profound than we can possibly imagine. Never dare to think that God would forget his covenant or reject his chosen!

4) We Christians have a duty to consider the special repentance that we owe for the sins committed, in the Lord's name, against his own people, by Christians. The history is more complex, not so cut-and-dried, as some would suggest--for example, there is an inspiring history of the popes being very solicitous and just toward the Jews of Italy, and much of the hostility to the Jews was inspired not so much by Christianity as by the vices Christianity opposes.

And yet, how can it not break ones heart to consider that our Jewish elder brothers and sisters would see the Cross, and the name of our Lord, as instruments of oppression? And how did this happen?

It happened because of what Christians did.

So maybe on Yom Kippur, we might do well to pray for mercy too.