All the dishes for Rosh Hashanah have a special meaning and tradition that is special to recognize. As we mentioned earlier, June is the most popular month for weddings. Then slices of apple are dipped as we say a prayer asking God for a sweet year.
The terms are thrown around on news reports and you hear them all the time now, thanks to the war in Iraq. Though they are both sects of Islam, integrally, they are almost two different religions. Why do they fight? The Sunnis and Shiites coexist in most Arabic countries. Night and day cannot exist at the same time.
We’ve spent a few weeks preparing for Rosh Hashanah, Judging our Dreams, Mastering the Exit, excited for our Grand Entrance. We have carefully examined our lives and promised to improve. We are planning for the coming year, but, as this week’s portion, “Nitzavim,” “Standers,” reminds us, in one week we too will have our big moment; we will stand before the King. We will have an opportunity to argue our case, to plead, promise, praise, and repent. We have climbed our way out of the past, prepared for our entrance into the New Year, but there is one moment that defines our future: The moment we stand before God. How will we stand?
The Israelites had become utterly faithful about keeping Passover by the time Jesus and His disciples gathered in the Upper Room. Before the Babylonian exile, this was not always the case. Their inconsistency in keeping Passover was part of a long, sad story of unfaithfulness to the Old Covenant. Their story is a microcosm of our story. But we come again to the table tonight to celebrate our liberation from slavery, for the re-presentation of the greatest Passover of all. Jesus, the innocent, unblemished Lamb of God, our Passover, is sacrificed for us to take away the sin of the world.
What my friend told me made me say to myself that I don’t have to be Jewish to celebrate the cleansing of my soul. I went home that night and asked my parents about what they felt and thought of me. I told them the same. What we found out about each other changed our views in my family so dramatically that we took our own long walk down to the river and cast aside bread. With each throw of our bread we told each other what we were sad about and what we asked forgiveness for.
If we use this time wisely, by reflecting on our past actions, regretting our mistakes and sincerely vow never to repeat them, we will be forgiven and sealed in the Book of Life. This is the accepted tradition.
At the bar, stock a couple of hearty red wines. You might also want to make your signature cocktail a warm drink – a hot apple cider perhaps? Or offer the apple cider as a chilled drink while the sun is still up and then offer a hot apple cider as an after dinner treat.
Please do not send me a card with Jesus in a manger. If you are going to send me a card please write or buy one that says Seasons Greetings. I am speaking for many who won’t or can’t speak. I am speaking for generations who came before me and who paid a huge price to be heard. I believe they would feel as I do.