Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur blessings

Readings for YOM KIPPUR: The Day of Atonement

Micah 7:18-19: You cast all our sins into the depths of the sea!

 Who is a God like you,
       who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
       of the remnant of His inheritance?
       You do not stay angry forever
       but delight to show mercy.

 You will again have compassion on us;
       you will tread our sins underfoot
       and cast all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.


Psalm 103: As far as the east is from the west…

 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
       slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
       nor will he harbor His anger forever;
 He does not treat us as our sins deserve
       or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
       so great is His love for those who fear Him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
       so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father has compassion on His children,
       so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him;
 for He knows how we are formed,
       He remembers that we are dust.



Isaiah 38: 13-17: God only intends wholeness from the brokenness

I waited patiently till dawn,
       but like a lion he broke all my bones;
       day and night you made an end of me.
 I cried like a swift or thrush,
       I moaned like a mourning dove.
       My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens.
       I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!"
 But what can I say?
       He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
       I will walk humbly all my years
       because of this anguish of my soul.
 Lord, by such things men live;
       and my spirit finds life in them too.
       You restored me to health
       and let me live.
 Surely it was for my benefit
       that I suffered such anguish.
       In your love you kept me
       from the pit of destruction;
       you have put all my sins
       behind your back.



Isaiah 61: Her deliverance shines out like the dawn!

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, 
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,
Until her deliverance shines out like the dawn, 
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your deliverance, 
and all rulers shall see your glory;
Then you shall be called by a new name 
which the mouth of God will give.
You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, 
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.



Kol nidre: O God, forgive my lacking vows!

One aspect of the evening prayer on Yom Kippur is an opening prayer that begs God’s forgiveness for the failed vows between the individual and God: the person asks God to forgive the fact that she or he could not keep the vows that s/he spoke before God, that previous year.  

Bread upon the water: You have cast all my sins into the depths of the sea!

Another powerful ritual of Atonement is the enacted casting of one’s sins away: at sunset or after sundown, the person walks to the ocean or to a flowing river or stream, and takes bread, rips the bread into pieces, and prays – quoting Micah 7:19: “Lord, you are a God of compassion. You will tread our sins underfoot, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” The person then casts the bread out into the water, in the Presence of the Almighty, asking Him to bear the burden of the sin, and giving it to Him…

It symbolizes, of course, our repentance and the divine bearing of sin [the divine Atonement – only God can carry sins away, into the depths of forgetfulness].  

A prayer for the symbolic casting of bread on the water

Dear Father, thank you for your compassion,
  You have trodden my sins underfoot,
   You have cast all my sins into the depths of the sea,
    Where you choose not to remember them against me –
  Abba, here is a mystery: How can you, the all-knowing God,
      Not remember my sins? Ah, it is not that you cannot remember,
        For you are the One who heals me:

      It is rather that you choose not to remember!
  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Abba, here I stand beside this river,
  And I give you all that weighs me down…
Jesus, you came as the Bread of Heaven
   Come down to give life to the world:
  You said that the bread you would give
   Is your flesh for the life of the world –
   And that the one who eats of this bread
    Will live forever.
  You said that this bread was your body,
    Broken for us, broken for me,
     To take away the brokenness I incurred…
 Oh, Jesus! In this moment be my Bread:
  Be my bread to feed my soul,
  And in yourself take away the weight of my sins:
 You said that you cast my sins into the depths of the sea –
  So I cast my burdens upon you this moment…
Take them, Lord Jesus Christ, Bread of Life!
 Take away my leaven, take all the leaven of sin from the loaf,
  And let me live again, renewed, for you!

Bread of Heaven, be my bread, be my Savior
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Who bears the burden of those weighed down,
Whose wounds bring healing, pure and free!
O Breath of Heaven! Lighten my darkness…
Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy
And I am needy! Breath of Heaven, bread of life
I cast myself upon you, like bread upon the waters,
Forgive me for where I’ve failed your intent,
And let me return after many days,
Like new bread returned: without leaven, whole, pure and true!
Abba! This is pray, in tears, yet in humble rejoicing…
  In Jesus’ name – Oh, let your Spirit reign over me
  To lighten me, guide me and fill me,
   My Living God!
Thank you for your Atonement, I take it, like a child
 Thirsting in the desert, water for my soul,
  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!


 Peace be upon Israel! O LORD God Almighty, bless your People with peace.



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