By Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas Robinson
Special to GUIDON
From the evening of Oct. 8 to the evening of Oct. 9, 10 days after Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Jewish people around the globe observed Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement — a day of fasting, introspection and repentance.
It is considered the most solemn holy day in the Jewish faith, which occurs once a year on the 10th day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.
In Leviticus 16:34, we read that it was to be a lasting ordinance for the Jewish people, made once a year, to atone for all of their sins from the previous year.
On the Day of Atonement, which is considered a Sabbath (a day of rest), Jewish adherents would spend time in a worship service at the temple, seeking forgiveness from God and each other. For the adherents, the goal is to be reconciled to God and to one another.
In ancient times, God gave the Jewish people Yom Kippur to remind not only them, but all of humanity, of the need for atonement — have sins removed, receive forgiveness and be reconciled to God and to one another.
Now, in the Christian faith, Christians believe that Yom Kippur was pointing to an actual person all along — Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Christians believe that through Jesus, sins are removed, forgiveness is received and people are reconciled to God and to one another (Romans 3:21-26 and John 14:6).
Therefore we do not need to fear our differences — whether political, racial or religious.
Rather, because of the message of Yom Kippur, which the Christian faith understands as God’s way of forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus Christ, we can now recognize, embrace and celebrate our differences and live in harmony with one another — because we all need atonement.
(Editor’s note: Robinson is the 554th Engineer Battalion chaplain.)