Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur

Lately I've found myself at odds with a prevalent attitude of superiority I see so much of. There are the "greener than thou"s, also the "more politically correct", "more informed", and "better educated" sorts who are like nails on a chalkboard. So many times I find myself just thinking "stop talking about how great you are and just be!" All of the bumper stickers, protests, posters and political and religious soap boxes just make me want to scream sometimes.
There is a parable of Jesus that has been perpetually knocking about in my head about all of it.

Luke 18:9-14
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’
14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Tonight through tomorrow evening is the Jewish day of atonement. It is a day of solemn fasting and repentance. In this modern world where many people lack the religions of the past it seems that reflection and repentance can easily be discounted. A day to look into only personal faults and sins (religious, moral, ethical or what you will) rather than on that of others could be a day well spent.

I would welcome a more mainstream Yom Kippur here in the States. It might take a little of the hedonism out of the whole Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas season of gluttony.

As the Yom Kippur greeting goes; "May you be sealed for a good year in the Book of Life"