The Crowing Rooster

As I stated yesterday, I decided to spend Yom Kippur at home so I can dig into myself and learn what I needed to do to move forward. So, what did I learn from my Yom Kippur day of introspection? To sum it all up in one sentence: I’m a bad person.

So many times I had the chance to be like Paul but wound up acting like Peter. I think I finally heard the rooster crow yesterday, and it was crowing all day, reminding me of all the ways that I denied Christ.

Let’s start with the basic form of denial: identity. If anything, I love to call myself a Messianic Jew because I feel that I have gained something precious. I feel like I have received a new inheritance, rather than lost something. However, when people ask me what religion I am, I just say “Jewish”. That doesn’t say much about me. If anything, it shrouds Christ behind a curtain and people think that I am just a “go to synagogue Saturday, not eating pork kind of guy (although I will admit that I still do like my shellfish)”. They don’t get to hear the joy that I have from being saved. In fact, what they perceive is that I am one of “them”: someone who they imagined would never accept Christ. That’s not true.

Another way I have denied Christ was when I was asked at work what kind of music I listened to on my BlackBerry. The first things that blurted out of my mouth were all of my “guitar heroes”. Where the heck were the “Jesus freaks” when I was talking? They remained hidden in my BlackBerry. They were the ones that I should have mentioned first. They are the ones I will more than likely listen to in the car. Heck, why should I mention Yngwie Malmsteen when I only like his instrumentals. His lyrics are all dark and demonic and don’t really make me want to scream and sing them, like Kutless, Seventh Day Slumber, and Decyfer Down make me want to do: scream out the joy that Christ gives me and, for lack of a better term, shouting at the devil telling him to BEGONE! I should have mentioned them, along with Jeremy Camp and Skillet. Those are often my first choice. Then should come the Andy James, Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert stuff. Why should I be afraid of telling people of the music I listen to. Other people are listening to that death metal crap with all the screamos. They should be embarrassed… not me.

I think this whole act of denial has been punishing myself on the inside. I haven’t been very musical, and I haven’t shown very many signs of motivation. I felt like this was the clog in my system.

I have many more, but I think the point has been carried across. There is a shining ray of hope that did occur within the 10 days of awe:

Earlier this week, I did finally stand up for Christ in the face of opposition. Not that I was ever really wanting to hide Christ, but when I was finally asked by Joelle’s brother-in-law (who is a classic Pharisee in my books), I stood up in the name of Christ. I got the usual garbage from him, about turning my back and betraying Judaism. I knew how to shut that up: I told him to show me any piece in the Torah that explicitly states Christ is not the Son of God and that I have done betrayed my faith, because I knew that I had so many pieces of scripture that points otherwise. I remembered the feeling that I got out of it: total gain. Total freedom… I mean talk about the Truth setting me free. It’s like that nasty clog in the drainpipe just got released. I also got total realization that I did not do this in the past. This is what really led me up to yesterday. It opened my eyes up and I needed to look into this.

Now that I have woken up and heard the rooster, I know what I need to do. I need to put Christ first. When someone asks what I believe, I need to put the term Messianic in front of Jew. It might prompt them to ask, to which I can tell them of my love for Christ. That is who I am. When someone asks me what I listen to, I should talk about all of the bands I am first to listen to in the car: the Christian ones. When they ask who they are, I can tell them. If they get turned off by it, that’s their loss. Saying anything else for my own gain would be considered loss. I should not express any fear of who’s watching me when I pray in the car when I get to work. It just might inspire them to do the same. This is how I believe that treasures in Heaven are built. I need to set my sights more on those treasures in Heaven.

After all, it has been stated that where your treasure is, so is your heart…

Introspection without Distractions

Today is Yom Kippur. If anything, I was brought up learning only two things about Yom Kippur: fasting and going to synagogue to pray. The fasting part is relatively simple to grasp: don’t eat. It was often the prayers that I found rather difficult to fathom. Here we are supposed to be praying for forgiveness; we’re supposed to be looking into our own selves; introspection, if you will. We’re supposed to see what we’ve done, and what we haven’t done. We should be seeing how we can improve; how we can turn away from the awfulness that we became in the past year, and for lack of a better term, turn towards aweful-ness…. the aweful-ness that is our God.
How can I though? I find the prayers in the synagogue distracting. I find that they get in the way of me trying to establish my connection with my God and my Saviour that I find I can’t pray them. They feel like chatter to me. Perhaps, they were okay when I was trying to find my voice, but now it feels like I have a voice and it needs to reach out. The chatter in the prayerbooks seem to get in my way. I know that I have done many things wrong and I need to confess them. I also know that God can see all of the wrongful things I have done that I don’t know about. The problem is that I feel like I can no longer confess them by just reading them out of a book. Like I said, it feels like chatter, and not prayer. I feel more real just praying two simple words than I do paragraphs of stuff that I didn’t come up with.
Playing guitar was nice in the synagogue, but there was a part that seemed to come alive when I could just hear my own voice between me and God. Something in the silence was drawing me closer than I ever had been. Almost like I felt a calling.
If anything, I’ve sort of chosen to stay at home, free from the distractions. I’m finding that I can better deal with what is inside of me rather than trying to read it out of me. I feel like I am using my own voice for prayer than someone else’s. I need to speak what is in my heart, rather than what is in the pages of a book. This week I experienced both a lot of joy and a lot of pain in it and that is the stuff that I cannot get from a prayer book. I can’t just read out my pain through printed words. And, I cannot express joy that wasn’t mine. I need to look at what got me to where I am and where I am going. If I am going to introspect myself, then I need to do it myself. No prayer book can tell me where I am going and what I am doing. Only my heart can do that. Only one book can tell me where I need to go, and that is the Bible and if we read more of that in the synagogue, then it may have been different. Instead, we focus on the same two passages every year, which I really don’t get in relation to my own life. There are plenty of other passages that I can relate to today. I want to read them.
God knows who I am and He knows where I will be and He knows where He wants me to be. As this new year comes to a start, I want to take today to get to know me and where I am and where I am going. As well, I want to get to know God and where He wants me to go. And, I want to do this distraction free. If there is a passage to be read, let it be one that God has placed before me. If there is a song to be sung, let it be one that God has placed upon my heart.