The Days of Awe

Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson

Today was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in Judaism.  The day that Jews around the world take stock of their lives and then move on into the new years.  The days between the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and the day of atonement are sometimes called the days of awe, sometimes the high holy days.  It is an ancient tradition, going back to Biblical times.

Then it was more a time for the nation to take stock than it was for individuals to atone for wrong doings and make amends for the past.  These days it refers more to individuals than to a people or a nation.  There is good in both and dangers in both.  It is certainly wise for everyone to look at how they are living and atone for those acts or areas that fall short of what we hope, and then pledge to seek living more in line with our values.

But what if nations did this too?  What if each nation took time to think about how it acts and where it has done wrong.  Just like no person is perfect, neither is any nation. Maybe this childish idea of  “never apologizing” would be set aside and we might act more mature and admit to our shortcomings, and then pledge to live closer to our ideals.

But it starts with each one of us.  The Day of Atonement, the days of awe, high holy days – it doesn’t come round but once a year and it would be good to make use of it.

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