For on this day atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord.Leviticus 16:30
Dear members and friends,
Believe it or not, this is the last week in the year 2023. We have lived one more year in the limited time that is given to us. Certainly, we do not know the length of the time that is given to us, but we all know that it is not limitless. Thus, the preciousness of time becomes more real to us as the number of years we have lived increases. As one year is ending, some of us may be looking back and thinking “I could have done this better,” or “I should not have done that.” Or perhaps some of us are just content and at ease thinking, “it was a good year!” What would be a good way to end a year? My recommendation is to take a day and have it as a day of spiritual purification.
For many of us, the Bible seems to be just one book that has many stories. But in fact, the Bible is composed of many small books (66 in total). Among them is a book called Leviticus. As the name itself reveals, this book was written mostly for the Levites regarding the logistic details and procedures of their rituals. But, there are some messages in it that seem to contain deeper spiritual meaning. For instance, in Leviticus 16 and 23, God emphasizes the Day of Atonement or the Day of Purification. The Day of Purification is about having a ritual to cleanse oneself from all sins. If we are bothered by the word “sin,” we could use “mistakes” or “errors” instead. The Hebrew word translated as “sin” actually means “missing the target.” Mistakes and errors that we have made are problematic not just because they happened, but because of how our mind carries and reacts to them. In a way, they become more problematic due to the fact that we tend to carry them for a long time. And, if we live a long enough time just carrying them around, they might become a spiritual blockage between God and us. That is why God ordered Moses to create such a ritual. The ritual that I suggest is this: 1. You acknowledge the mistakes and errors as what they are by writing them on a piece of paper; 2. You bring them to God with a genuine repentance; not a regret, but a willingness to live differently in the new year; 3. You burn the piece of paper as an offering to God.
My brothers and sisters in God, let us remind ourselves the truth that God unconditionally loves us from eternity to eternity. Thus, what is blocking our path to feel the love of God is never built by God, but by us. Let us take a moment of acknowledgement and cleanse the pathway our hearts, so that God comes into us and becomes one with us.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee