Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur – September 22, 2015 (evening)

For the past two days, I’ve been refinishing a piece of furniture. Although the chest looks drastically different – even lovely, it will never be perfect because the imperfections are only covered. Many are in the wood and even in how the chest was built.

As I was painting this afternoon, I began to think about the Old Testament concept of repentance for sin since Yom Kippur begins at sundown. This most holy day in the Jewish calendar ends 10 days of introspection. Many devout Jews will spend the day in the synagogue, fasting and praying for the forgiveness of sins committed during this past year. Yom is the Hebrew word for day and Kippur is translated as atonement. Kippur literally means to physically cover over something, just as I painted the chest.

People in the Old Testament traveled to Jerusalem and observed the day through repentance and bringing a lamb to be sacrificed for their sins. God looked on the blood of that sacrificed animal, and sin was covered. It was temporary, and people continually offered sacrifices. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin (Hebrews 10:1-4).

But through Christ death on the Cross, our sins can be forgiven and forgotten because Jesus became our sacrificial Lamb (I Peter 1:18-19, Hebrews 9:28). As we repent, our sins are not merely covered (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 1:7), they are washed away or “wiped out” (Acts 3:19).

As widows, we may have regrets or have wished we could have done things differently. Those actions or circumstances can never be changed. But through Christ, we can forgive ourselves, find freedom from guilt, and live in the joy of knowing that the Lord has forgiven us.