Last month, our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrated the holiest of all Jewish holidays. Yom Kippur is the time in Judaism when the Jews dedicate their minds, their bodies and souls to reconciliation. It is a time of not only giving forgiveness, but also and importantly, asking for forgiveness for the transgressions they themselves have committed over the last past year.
Yom Kippur lasts for a period of ten days. Sound familiar? We, as Christians, believe in forgiveness. A line from the Lord’s Prayer, ”Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. And like our Jewish brethren, during Lent we are asked to dedicate our minds, our bodies and souls to reconciliation with God and the people we have transgressed. Asking for and granting forgiveness has a great effect on us. In doing so, you erase within yourself the anger, the stress and anxiety that has been suppressed. If we give and accept forgiveness, a sense of clarity and serenity enters our being.
In the early days of Judaism, on the day of Yom Kippur the high priest would enter the Holiest of Holies, the abode of God, and pray for forgiveness for the sins of the Jewish nation. He would then make a blood sacrifice to God as an offering. See a connection here? You bet! Think about the crucifixion. Christ shed his blood and died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins for all of humanity.
We are tightly bound to our Jewish brothers and sisters; the Christian faith has its roots deep in the beliefs of Judaism. We are their spiritual descendants. So when Yom Kippur is celebrated, always remember its meaning and the connection it has with the crucifixion. Both were blood sacrifices for the atonement of sin. Alleluia!