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.