September 29, 2003

The Days of Awe
"The LORD said to Moses, 'The tenth day of this 
seventh month is the Day of Atonement.'" (Vayikra / 
Leviticus 23:26,27).

We are currently in the period of time the Jewish 
community refers to as the Days of Awe. These are the 
ten days in between the holy days of Rosh Hashanah 
(the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of 
Atonement, beginning the evening of October 5 this 
year). Yom Kippur is a special day of national 
humiliation and repentance toward God for the 
forgiveness of sins.

But before we seek to be made right with God in this 
way, it is necessary to make sure we are right with 
one another. "For anyone who does not love his 
brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he 
has not seen" (1 Johanan / 1 John 4:20), we read in 
the New Covenant Scriptures. The Bible intimately 
relates our relationship to God with our relationships 
to other people. 

The Days of Awe is a special time to right wrongs that 
we have committed against others. While this is 
something we should be doing all year, it is good to 
make a concentrated effort to think of our actions 
over the past year and do what we can to right our 
wrongs.

How our attitudes and actions toward others relate to 
our relationship to God and how our attitudes and 
actions toward God affects our relationship to others 
is not easy to understand. That's because we don't 
tend to accept that we are truly made in God's image 
and that each one of us represents God on Earth. It is 
within human relationships that the reality of God is 
mostly experienced . Whenever we break relationship, 
we mar his image and disrupt his revelation of himself 
among us.

To seek to be right with God while disregarding the 
need to be right with one another is to mock him. When 
we don't care about our human relationships, we show 
God that we don't care about his most precious 
creation and thus don't really care about him at all.

I know full well that righting our wrongs toward 
others is not always an easy thing to do. Some of our 
estranged relationships are very complicated. A very 
helpful verse in the Bible is "If it is possible, as 
far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" 
(Romans 12:18). God does not expect us to take full 
responsibility for every negative issue we have with 
others. We just need to do our part. We also cannot 
ensure complete resolution to every conflict we have, 
but we should do what we can to better these 
situations.

So during these Days of Awe may I suggest that we take 
the time to think over the past year, make a list of 
things that we need to address, and begin to do what 
we can to right our wrongs and restore broken 
relationships. The more we do that, I believe the 
better we will get to know God this year.