Together we joined in worship singing several songs and hymns of thanksgiving and praise. In our Missions Minute our young brother Graham opened up and shared some of his joys working with the youth at Great Oaks Camp. Corporate prayer was poignant as those in need were lifted up and a minute of silence was observed in honor of our dear friend Jim who recently left this world to be present with our Lord. Once again the gracious tones flowed from Vanessa’s harp in a lovely arrangement of Give Thanks for a Grateful Heart.
On the eve of our American tradition of Thanksgiving, Elder Randy anchored us with our final sermon in Pastor Kevin’s sabbatic absence. The teaching came from the Bible, primarily Leviticus 23, and the rich history of the Jewish feasts and holidays. He began with Mark’s call from last week to observe the Sabbath with Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, and Feasting.
Feasts and holidays are God ordained Jewish feast dates based on the Jewish lunar calendar and they speak to the past, present, and future in unique ways. They incorporate convocation with community and food, and commemoration of God’s faithfulness and promises.
Randy, in his calm and easy teaching style, described seven basic Jewish feasts:
- The Passover (Pesach) – The oldest feast about the Exodus and specifically Egypt’s 10th plague. We’re covered now and we’re spared God’s wrath in the future as we’re covered by the blood of the Lamb of God.
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread – Passover-related, representing a repenting from sin as leaven represents sin.
- Feast of First Fruits –Priest offer a Wave Offering with a sheaf of Barley. Jesus is the first fruit raised from the dead.
- Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) – Also called Pentecost. Celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments; also two loaves (with yeast) can represent Jews and grafted in Gentiles.
- Feast of Trumpets – Shofar horn trumpet represents God’s provision of a ram in place of Isaac; and the Final Battle call. (Rosh Hashanah) is the Jewish New Year.
- Day of Atonement –Represented by 2 goats. The Final Judgment is references and the separating of sheep from goats; (Yom Kippur) - Traditional Fast.
- Feast of the Tabernacle – (Sukkot) Living in Booths to remember God’s provision in the wilderness; Harvest Feast – Somewhat akin to our Thanksgiving.
At least two other feasts were mentioned:
- Purim – The national deliverance covered in the book of Esther
- Feast of Dedication (Hanukah) consecrating the miraculous 1 day of oil lasting 8 days; Jesus celebrated this.
Knowing and better understanding God’s festivals for us can:
- Help us to better understand God, His plan that we’re in, and His Word
- Facilitate our transferring our history and beliefs to younger generations
- Help us to be better able to relate to Jewish people
After the service thanks and praise were heard for the wonderful job our elders, leaders, and congregation have done in our Pastor’s absence. May we continue to step up, serve, and love-well through the power of our eternal God.