Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rosh Hashanah 2007

Happy New Year to all. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the Feast of Trumpets begin this coming Friday evening with the sound of the Shofar (a ram’s horn). According to the Jewish way of reckoning, the original new year was the day that God made man (and woman) 5767 years ago. It is a day for rejoicing, but it is also a day for thought and reflection.

First, let us remember, on this day, God made man in his image. To be made in the image of God means in part, we are co-creators with him. We are at our most God like when we are creating with him, whether a book, a concert, a nice dinner etc., especially when the creation is made in his honour To be made in the image of God also means we are capable of reason, that we are not slaves of instinct as animals are. Also to be made in the image of God means that we are capable of having a relationship with us, which is what he created us for.

The problem was that Adam and Havah threw all of this away. Adam was a Lord, or steward over the earth and sea, but threw this away when he ate the fruit. Creation, which had been his servant and responsibility became his enemy. No longer did he just work the Garden, but was to eat by the sweat of his brow. He also lost his relationship with God and his wife. The Torah tells how the result of sin spread over all the earth.

But lest we blame all our problems on Adam and Havah, let us remember that the story of Adam (man) is the story of all men. We want to become like God’s and make our own decisions. We forget that to break spiritual laws, have just as much result as breaking physical laws. Just as jumping off a ten story building will result in a fall and death, so do breaking the moral code of the Bible result in a fall and death, sometimes physical, but most certainly spiritual. The rapid spread AIDS in certain countries is related to homosexuality. In Africa it is related to marital infidelity. In New York, a large portion of the epidemic was related to drug use. We could spend days on this topic, but suffice it to say, when we truly learn to obey God in moral matters (and of course we cannot obey relying on our own strength. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us in this, and give us strength as well), then we will come much closer to living as God intended Adam and Havah to live.

So let us reflect this Saturday on how well we follow Adam and Havah. Do we want to be like “gods” as Satan tempted them, or do we wish to walk with our Lord day by day. What can we do to join him in creation? How can we follow Him so others see him in us, and come to know the Lord?

Please reflect in these Holy Days, (the 10 days after Rosh Hashanah) and join with me in the fast of Yom Kippur.

Some customs to know: The trumpet (shofar) is blown on Rosh Hashanah. Round bread is eaten to symbolize the cycle of the year. Bread and apples are eaten with honey that we may have a sweet year. Pockets are emptied out to show we are making a new start. One of my favourites, we drop bread crumbs in the water (symbolizing God carrying our sins away) while saying God will separate us as far from our sins and the east is separated from the west.
A poem for your reflection:

What Does the Shofar Say?

Listen to the sound of the Shofar, this Rosh Hashanah day,
What is it, what does the Shofar say?
Awake, sleepers arise!
Don’t be like sheep, so sound asleep,
Letting the wolf in the door, to destroy, corrupt and more.
He’s in the music, promoting drugs,
He’s on TV promoting sex and rebellion,
He’s in the school teaching one to be a hellion.
Parents, do you love your children,
Then teach them, teach them.
At their rising, at their sitting,
Going out, coming in, at their eating,
Jesus Christ is Lord, He died for you, and many more,
And expects to be your Lord.

Listen to the sound of the Shofar, this Rosh Hashanah day,
What is it, what does the Shofar say?
Awake, sleepers arise!
Don’t be like sheep, so sound asleep,
False shepherds abound misleading the sheep,
Saying science, psychology is King.
If it feels good do it, if it hurts no-one, ‘tis not a sin, or so they sing.
Jesus is not Lord, he’s just one way, of which there are many more.
Stand up O sheep, flee from such shepherds, For at that last day, they shall flee, or
Be astounded, upon finding resurrection is true,
But alas they are blue,
For never having known Jesus, they have condemned themselves,
And those who followed them to a future so bleak,
That to think upon makes me weak

Listen to the sound of the Shofar, this Rosh Hashanah day,
What is it, what does the Shofar say?
Ti ra! Ti ra! Arise, charge, ‘tis time to fight the good fight,
‘tis time to show the adversary our might.
Put on the Gospel Armour, refrain from retreating,
It is time to gain souls, it is time to gain kings,
It is time to show the world our Lord and King.
We have been asleep, allowing Satin his will
And we have had to pay the bill.
The time is over, Satin take cover,
For the church is called to be on the move.
Blow the shofar, blow the trumpet, Good Christians, ATTACK!
You are the mighty hosts of the Lord, armed with his Spirit and Word,
The battle is yours, the war is the Lord’s.

Shalom b'Yeshuah haMoshich

Mar Michael Abportus

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