The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts.
You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall present the Lord's offering by fire.
If you still own a paper calendar, it probably has tomorrow marked as Rosh Hashanah. It may even indicate, as mine does, that it begins at sundown. Jewish holidays begin at sundown and end at sundown the next day. Rosh Hashanah, our youth learned in Bible study this week, means "Head of the Year," the Jewish new year. The next ten days are a celebration of this, ending in Yom Kippur, which is the "day of atonement," which begins on Sunday at sundown and ends on Monday at sundown. This is a period of reflection and righting wrongs. People often call folks to mend fences and attempt to reconcile. Yom Kippur is also a day to remember those who have passed away that year.
Like Christians with Christmas and Easter, these are high holy days, days that regular attendees are joined by those who come very rarely. It's a huge gathering for worship. Rosh Hashanah begins with a blowing of the rams horn, known as the Shofar. Yom Kippur ends with the same. This is the same instrument that would announce a new month or a call to battle in ancient tradition. So why should we be familiar with these wonderful traditions?
Christianity is not just an offshoot sect of Judaism, but the living faith of our Lord and Savior. His traditions shaped him and his ministry. To study these traditions and know them better is to know our own history better, and our Lord. And understanding the importance of these traditions makes us better followers of the Way as better hosts. This Sunday, we will host our brothers and sisters of Dor Tamid, a local synagogue. After our worship service at 9:30, this Sunday, they will hold a Rosh Hashanah service in the parking lot at 11. Their Rabbi, Jordan Ottenstein, a close friend of myself and Pastor Gray will blow the shofar and gather his people to worship the God we love and serve. We are happy to be their hosts and friends. And if you have Jewish friends and neighbors, be sure to wish them a happy new year, "Shanah Tova!"