This month of Elul before the High Holy days is a time of preparation to address the ways we can be better creations, a time to address our failings and transgressions, a time to return to Him more centered as the new year begins.
As I was immersing in those thoughts while jogging on the beach, I was thinking how interesting that an hour earlier I had made a pocket call to a relative with whom I don’t regularly speak, one involved in the drama of having been a child, now an adult, who has not forgiven parents for a troubled childhood. As this thought began to flow I realized that an upcoming event honoring the person’s big birthday falls on the yahrzeit of one of those now gone who was part of the sad dysfunctional family story. Of all days, how HaShem orchestrated the timing of the event. . . a time when those in the story still alive can’t help but make reference to those departed. . . another opportunity to forgive offered up to the unforgiving family member . . .
I couldn’t help but think about Yeshua, how it is through Him as the grand forgiver of all of our sins that our feeble attempts to forgive are made complete, especially for those of us who find it difficult to do so.
Just as I had that thought, at that very moment, the lyrics from Steve McConnell’s song played in my headset:
“I would have begged Him to forgive me”
an affirmation that I was hearing my Abba.
The song continued. . .
“And later on as we were fishing, Yeshua stood upon the misty shore”
as I passed a fisherman just at that moment, the only one I’d passed in the last half hour . . .
“And He called us in to share a holy message. His heart was set on seeing me restored.”
. . .
“Peter, do you love me?
. . .
Then feed my lambs. And tend my sheep. Feed my lambs.”
At that very moment I received a text from my daughter-in-law, affectionately called Baby Wool due to her fascination with lambs.
And on the heels of that text, an email from Rabbi Rich adding a Yizkor reminder to our list this year.
Such perfect timing always make me smile for I feel I am hearing my Abba, that I’m getting the point He’s trying to have me see, using the everyday little signs to assure me I’m on the right track, each synchronicity a punctuation of the message – to love, to forgive, to go into the world as an example of life in Him, and tend his sheep, feed his lambs. We are to live this life filled with love and forgiveness, the flow of events on the beach revealing a reminder that this is the season of repentance, forgiveness, and remembrance of those who have gone before us often leaving trails of tears, but knowing that through Yeshua we have the ability to go on in peace, love, and forgiveness of those who did the best they could.
If He could forgive mankind for His death, how much moreso should we be able to forgive those who have hurt us. But truly we need to walk closely with Him for these hurts run deep, often seemingly beyond human capabilities to endure, all the more highlighting our need for Him.
“His heart was set on seeing me [us] restored.”
Perhaps this is the year that our Yizkor service, and our hearts, will be filled with remembrances overflowing with forgiveness and unconditional love, as our Savior has for us.