On Sunday, Pastor Ed continued his series on "The Rhythm of Our Story" by focusing on the Feast of Trumpets.
The Feast of Trumpets is Rosh Hashanah. The first day of the seventh month is the start of the year of the Babylonian calendar, so it became associated with the new year during the Babylonian captivity.
We looked at Leviticus 23:23-25 and Numbers 29:1-6 to see the instructions about the Feast of Trumpets.
Two Questions: What does this mean? What does it have to do with me?
What does this mean?
The passages don't tell us a lot. This feast doesn't reference any historical event.
The Feast of Trumpets was instituted to remind God's people of God's desire to call them to repentance and to point them toward His great mercy.
The word for trumpet here is shofar -- a ram's horn.
The shofar was associated with God's Law in their minds. Prophets used it as a call to repentance. See Exodus 19:16; Joel 2:15-17; Isaiah 58:1.
"Alert us to the need to repent" -- a modern rabbi
"A wake up call to abandon evil deeds and turn to God." -- Maimonides
They were reminded that their lives would be tried in God's court. God, the judge of the world is presiding.
The feast called people's imaginations to examine their lives.
Jesus reinforced this. See Matthew 12:36 and Hebrews 9:27.
Another part of the picture: Justice understood in the context of God's mercy.
Examining their lives, they also had an ardent hope that God would pardon their shortcomings and help them do right.
The story of Abraham offering Isaac was read on the Feast of Trumpets.
Isaiah 30:15-18 "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you..."
What does it have to do with us?
The first day of the seventh month was also the end of harvest time.
God prescribed that they set aside a day at a critically important time of the year to think about repentance and God's mercy.
Jesus repeated the theme in Matthew 6:25-34. Seek God's kingdom first. Our connection with God comes first.
They had as a part of their rhythm a day to repent. God forced them to live with the end in mind.
Get right with God! We're going to stand before Him at the end of our lives.
Matthew 18:21-35; 25:31-46 Jesus went so far as to say He'll be involved in that judging process.
We need to live with the end in mind.
We were also reminded of the prayer initiative going on during Lent: Gateway: Together in Prayer.
Commit to pray for Gateway on a certain day of the week for a certain amount of time up through Easter.
Some prayer ideas for this week include the Children's Team Leaders Retreat going on this weekend (Feb. 26-28), and the youth leading Kidztown next Sunday in their absence. Also for grading and building permits, and God's guidance and wisdom for the elders and staff.
The Father-Daughter Dance took place Sunday night, with an 80s theme. I've seen various pictures on Facebook of dads and daughters -- and they are all wonderful!