Observing the Day of Atonement

Here are some ways you can observe Yom Kippur this year, or the Day of Atonement.

You can choose to do one or all of these ideas; perhaps taking time as a family to read the Scriptures together. It’s meaningful to observe the day as a group, such as with your family or church community.

You can fast from food completely, or you can choose to eat simple foods with no embellishment or complex flavors. Plain chicken soup, vegetables and crackers or bread are common “partial fast” foods.

The reason food is so commonly fasted is that it is so closely tied to trust. At the core of our humanity is a desire to sustain ourselves; fasting is trusting God to sustain the body and nourish the spirit. Fasting shouldn’t be entered into without proper understanding, so if you are not ready to fast from food, you can choose to fast from something else.

Take a break from the usual harried schedule and entertainments for the day; limit use of tech and spend the extra time in prayer, worship and doing kind acts for others.

Collect money to give away to someone in need. Take this day to perform tasks for widows, the elderly and the disabled.

As a family or group, talk about what you would like to do better going forward. Discuss how the Torah was not enough to make us holy; only the person of Christ can redeem us. Talk about the importance of being prepared for Christ’s return, not taking advantage of God’s grace in order to live a life of sin. Discuss: what is sin? What is trust? Talk about what trusting God looks like in daily life.

Read the following scriptures, or others that follow the same theme:

Isaiah 53

Psalm 24

Romans 3:21-26