9/19/21 – Work Left Undone

Posted on : Sep 16th, 2021 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

We are Back in the Sanctuary at 11am on Sunday Mornings!!!! Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide the worship experience on zoom, but it is our hope to record on the church Facebook page. You can access the service live streamed from the sanctuary at https://www.facebook.com/WestHollywoodUCC. If you are not able to attend worship in person, we ask for your patience and understanding as we do our best to link to our FB page.

 

Yom Kippur 2021 / יוֹם כִּפּוּר 5782

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) for Hebrew Year 5782 begins at sundown on Wednesday, 15 September 2021 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, 16 September 2021.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the High Priest effected atonement for the entire people through an elaborate ritual. Today, in the absence of the Temple, each of us stands, alone, together, naked as it were, before God. Yom Kippur is the dramatic culmination of the entire season of teshuvah, repentance. On Yom Kippur, Jews abstain from eating, drinking, bathing, sexual relations, and the wearing of leather (a sign of luxury) for 25 hours. Jews dress in white and traditionally spend most of the day in synagogue.

 

Work Left Undone

by John Edgerton | published on Sep 13, 2021

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider how you have fared… You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses.” – Haggai 1:7-9 (NRSV)

The book of Haggai is about what to do when high hopes are dashed.

The faithful had long prayed for an end to their exile. And when it came, it was so sudden it was hard to believe. But soon, troubles found them again. Their hopes for a season of joy and rebirth were scattered by a dose of reality. Their hearts were broken. Why was this happening?

God explained: the people were not yet finished working. They had counted their homecoming as complete before that was really true. Because the building of the Temple—the most important work of all—was left unfinished. “Finish the work” God said, “only then can your hopes flourish.” The people were weary, but God strengthened them.

I write this as Covid-19 is making a huge resurgence. Across the country, school plans and church plans and family plans are all up in the air again. Hopes for a season of joy and rebirth are being scattered. I think of all we have been through, and my heart breaks. Why is this happening?

Then I remember the prophet Haggai. And I know that the work of caring for the vulnerable—the most important work of all—is left unfinished. And with a sigh full of deep understanding, I hear a voice. “Finish the work” God says, “only then can your hope flourish.”

Prayer
God, we are weary. Give us the strength to do what must be done.

About the Author
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.

 

 

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