Sunday, September 16, 2012

Inscribed and Sealed for a Good Year!

This afternoon, our "Grafted Group" found our own way to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This was the fourth Jewish holiday we've celebrated together, and even though we are not Jewish by heritage or culture, we are thankful for the ways the Jewish feasts help us focus on the ways God has been faithful to us as people he has mercifully grafted into his family - an honor I am still so humbled by, that he would reach down and make a way for anyone to come to him and be called his children.

Themes in this feast were honey and sweet sangria wine... honey herb chicken, apples with honey, and a dish of cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, pineapple, and mandarin oranges was our meal - so savory and absolutely delicious! While we ate, we shared some of the highlights of this past year, which for me included a new house and community, renewed vision and strength for ministry, and getting to hold my newest nephew... so many new things, and I praise the Lord that he makes all things new, and that he renews his mercies for us day by day.

Wine, honey, and the promise of God from Micah 7

After reflecting, we also shared our hopes for this "new year" - things that we hope for that only God can accomplish - prayers answered, lives redeemed, community built, personal growth... miracles. Oh Lord, we long to see miracles this year.

The Grafted Group
We read some Psalms and worshipped through reflection - Psalm 118:5-9, Psalm 121, and Psalm 130.  Then, with the beautiful truth from Micah 7:18-19, we followed the holiday tradition by going down to the river to symbolically throw our sins to the depth of the sea. On the walk, this became a much more solemn and powerful time than any of us anticipated, as we picked up rocks as symbols of the sins we have held on to and needed to give to the Lord. After all, Jesus died for these things so we could be freed from them. As I prayed and reflected and plopped stones into the murky water of the St. Mary River, I realized it was at that bridge that my chair crossed its 200th mile... a marker I think will be pretty cool to remember.

Hit my 200th mile on the bridge over the river

A symbol to remind us
 Finally, we all had paper shofars (horns) to blow... In the Old Testament, it was blown to call community to gather and scatter, to call for God's rescue and victory, to rejoice and sacrifice and remember the Lord our God.

Blow the shofar for victory and surrender
What a beautiful, wonderful day! What a great beginning to a new year of living out the great adventure of knowing and walking with Jesus! Happy New Year! "And may you immediately be inscribed and sealed for a good year and a good and peaceful life!"

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