Month 7:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5936:194 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 2 October 2012
III. Looking Forward & Time Redemption
Continued from Part 2
Shalom and Chag Sameach Sukkot kol beit Yisrae'el! Welcome to the third day of the festival and to the second day of the week, Yom Shanee, corresponding to the Chag haMatzah or Feast of Unleavened Bread. As we saw yesterday Chag haMatazah's seven days point forwards to the seven days of Sukkot in anticipation of things to come whereas the seven days of Sukkot look back and recapitulate the seven days of Chag haMatzah in retrospect of things already accomplished.
Looking Back and Forward
Looking forward and looking back are important things that we as humans do though sometimes we can get lost in these activities and fail to root ourselves in the present which is the only place where mayim chayim or living waters flow. Whilst it is important to learn the lessons of history and especially so that we don't repeat their mistakes, there is no life in it. What has passed is permanently gone and can never be redeemed or bought back. Likewise looking into the future is important provided the hope that we generate doing so is realistic and not based on unattainable fantasy. There are many who hope for things that can never be and will never be. Here the promises of Yahweh become all important for these are very definitely realisable provided we put our trust in them and live the way He has ordained. Otherwise living in the future can detatch us from the reality of the present too.
The Recapitulations of Sukkot
At Sukkot (Tabernacles) there is a seven day recapitulation. And whilst the main reason of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) was for us to look at our conduct over the previous year and make a final repentance to clean the slate with Yahweh, Sukkot (Taberbacles) is really not for this at all but only for glancing back and for moving on, building on the positive achievements of the past year.
Yom Shanee and Chag haMatzah Resolutions
Today is Yom Shanee, the day correspinding to Chag haMatzah or Feast of Unleavened Bread in which we are about the process of consciously and with energy getting the sin out of our lives. It is the day when the crumbs of bread made with yeast are gathered up and burned, reminding us that it is the little sins of both ommission and commission that form the bedrock of bigger sins later if we don't deal with them when they are small. As we look back to our spiritual activity over the past year, and where we have succeeded in eliminating some bad habits and starting some new good ones, but perhaps failing to get rid of other bad habits and getting some good ones going, we should perhaps now remind ourselves to make some changes for the coming year. We will be gently reminded next spring when Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread) rolls around again of the importance of this but this does not mean that we should not begin prepping ourselves now - and doing so again every third day of the week hereafter - so that the next six months are not wasted in spiritual idleness. Let us be satisfied with the positive changes we have made and be resolved to make new ones over the next year.
The Six Months Between the Festivals
Though we will be ending the current cycle of annual festivals in a few days' time there is yet a full half year before the festivals roll around again . During this time we should not be idle, of course, but rather keep building on solid, kosher (pure), spiritual ground, looking forward to the many new moons and sabbaths on which to have special assemblies with Yahweh to hear His Davar (Word).
Look into the Creation Calendar
For those of our readers who are still procrastinating looking deeper into, and making decisions about, the biblical Creation Calendar, I urge you to take these steps now. I know that when I first looked into this matter, I honestly didn't want to know because I didn't want to make such big changes as would be required in following Yahweh's Derech (Way). In view of the fact that this is already - and will become increasingly - a year of huge upheaval and change in the domain of economics, politics and life in general in the world - this might actually be a good opportunity to get right with Yahweh in both the calendar and in a whole host of other things. Though self-survival should never be the primary motive for surrendering to Yahweh's ways, it is better than doing nothing. So if you have been a procrastinator, then I counsel you to start making these very big changes now.
Remembering a Friend and Our Mortality
Since we are on the subject of procrastination, I thought I would share an experience I had this morning. I dreamed of an old school friend whom I had not known very well but he has always stuck out in my mind because he was different from everyone else. Of Arab extraction, I remember him as having few if any friends at school but who was very much engaged in the political affairs of his region of the world which have always been bloody and unstable. He was one of the few boys who continued attending church services after they were made voluntary at our school and was one of the few who actually practiced his religion. We separated and lost touch when I went off to Oxford and he to London. Unbeknown to me, he went on to start a philanthropic foundation to assist the poor in the world. So you can imagine my delight when I went online this morning to try and trace him and to see what he had done but in reading his bio my heart stopped when I learned that he had died in 2003 at the age of 50. I was sad because I had failed to make contact and was alarmed enough to once again sense my own mortality. We occasionally need to be reminded that we are mortal and that Yahweh can take us home at any time. Without us necessarily being prepared, a Sukkot (Tabernacles) like this one could very well be our last.
Maintaining Perspective and Redeeming the Time
Though I am not one who wants to distract from the experience of chayim (life) in the moments of each day it is very important that we maintain perspective and don't throw away valuable and unreplaceable time. A couple of days ago my eldest son at home asked me about a passage of Paul which I'd like to remind us all of:
The apostle further writes:
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Master is" (Eph.5:15-17, NKJV).
Going Through Open Doors
"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that Elohim (God) would open to us a door for the davar (word), to speak the mystery of Messiah, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Col.4:2-6, NKJV).
The two urgent messages of these passages are that we should "redeem the time" - that is, use the time we have been given wisely - and to be prepared to walk through doors in the world that Yahweh opens for us so that we can walk through them and minister the Besorah (Gospel) to others. I would like to think that as this is my prayer today, that it will be yours also, for it is Yahweh's message on this third day of Sukkot (Tabernacles). This does, of course, mean "walking circumspectly" - that is, being accutely conscious of our behaviour and walk - and "continu[ing] earnestly in prayer". If your prayer life has fallen off or just become mechanical, without chayim (life), now is the time to re-engage in it seriously and get to know Yahweh better.
In these hard times it is easy to get discouraged - especially if there has been a tide of opposition with multiple reverses - and to simply give up or get spiritually idle. Nothing is inevitable, and as I pointed out recently, there is no such thing as 'fate', which is a pagan concept. Therefore we must press on, not wasting time, cultivating prayer life and walking our walking circumspectly - with great care. It is time to look forward in hope whilst being particular about living in the present to the glory of Yahweh:
Have a blessed day! We will reassamble here tomorrow morning at the same time. Amen
"Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in shalom (peace), without spot and blameless; and account that the longsuffering of our Master is salvation" (2 Peter 3:14-15, NKJV).
Continued in Part 4
 Excluding the unmandated festivals invented by man like Hanukkah and Purim.