Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This Is the Way the World Will End

Today at sunset is Yom Kippur, for those of the Jewish faith, the day of atonement. It is a day of repentance and fasting for personal and community/communal sins committed in the course of the last year in the hope of forgiveness-with forgiveness being the critically important aspect.

I was raised a Catholic who was taught to see Jews as (also) people of the Book (the Bible) but who limited themselves to the Old Testament and a God of Vengeance and Punishment. Jesus, as I remember, came we were taught to fulfill the Old Testament and by so doing and living, and dying, create a New Testament. I think my problem with my church became reconciling the New God with the Old Testament one-after all, what kind of a loving Deity would crucify His own Son?

Sixty years on and music such as this (All Vows) to mark the commencement of the Day of Atonement, has convinced me while I may have lost faith in my church, I'm not sure I've abandoned a belief in God, if that's Who inspired such beauty, majesty and ineffable sorrow in one piece of music.

Present day Israel, surrounded on three sides by enemies and on the fourth by the sea could not be in a more precarious position than the Jewish people themselves have been since the start of The Common Era. And yet, countless persecutions later, they stand, as self-anointed as God's Chosen and regardless of your own religious beliefs or depth of your persuasion, you have to admire their devotion to Him and their belief of His providence for them.

Yom Kippur ends tomorrow evening. There's this prayer to marks its end, a version of which I found online as produced and recorded at a synagogue, perhaps the only synagogue to this day (I actually don't know), in Frankfurt am Main. A house of worship I can still see clearly in my memory from the strassenbahn fenster as I passed the Sud-Bahnof on the trip back and forth to work for many of the years I lived in Deutschland. I have to assume it is still there.

I traveled a long way to some nearly-forgotten point in my own past I thought I had passed out of and all it took was an act of faith, though not mine or my own, to return.
-bill kenny      

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