A New Year and
Yom Kippur Communion
Wrapping up what I can do in Israel in
the short time remaining before the
Jewish holidays and flying back to
Lubbock, I am thinking of next Sabbath.
In Jerusalem, it will be the Sabbath
between New Year and the Day of
Atonement (Yom Kippur). For us in
Lubbock, it will be communion. My time here burying my
dead and celebrating life has been punctuated by the ram’s
horn daily calls to repentance, and in greetings for “a good
and sweet new year”. These two things can inform our
preparation for communion:

1. The Ram’s Horn Call to Self-Examination
“Let each person examine themselves” (1 Corinthians 11: 28)
Both the time before Kippur and before Communion are
times when each person in the community is called to selfexamination
before turning the page towards a better new
year. To take stock of our lives – what works, and what

2. A “Good and Sweet New Year” filled with Kindness
Both words “AtONEment” and “CommUNION” are built
on the word “One” (“unus” in Latin). The goal of life is
union, oneness in love: love from and to God, and love to
and from neighbor. A good and sweet new year is one
whose goal is to be filled with divine love and actuating it

3. A Judgment Decision that leads to Action
A third additional point. May you “have a good signature” or
“be inscribed for a good year” are two Jewish New Year
greetings that allude to Kippur’s judgment. The decision is
ratified by “a good signature” or one’s name being
“inscribed in the book of Life” for the upcoming year. The
examined life must issue in a better actuated life based on
ongoing judgements made, and on the great last judgment to
come. The final cessation of life is real. How do you, and
how will you, judge your life in the light of death?
Communion, Sabbath, Kippur, holidays, birthdays, Mother’s
Day, Christian, religious and secular celebrations everywhere
etc., are all special community opportunities for us
to pause and think about all this. Further, these ritualized
events are symbolic of living consciously every regular
moment of our everyday ordinary lives. Nothing “magical”
about religion. In and of itself, each moment of our ordinary
life is holy history, in which God is at work through
1. our gentle self-examination,
2. our drive towards divine love, and
3. our fulfilling it out in incarnated action.

With love and blessings,
Pastor Sam