Angelina, our SGA team member in Israel, shares with us how her church celebrated the Jewish New Year by ministering to children from a cancer hospital. ”They enjoyed it, they were happy to spend some time outside the hospital walls.”
Sometimes when we are able to take our eyes off of our own difficult circumstances and to see the loving grace and provision of God, we are able to be refreshed and ready to continue in the battle. For these children, it is the battle of cancer. For the church ministering to them, it is the battle fought daily, as they continue on in their journey to the Promised Land, fighting to be faithful in the “in between.”
On Friday, September 15th, Israel celebrated Rosh-HaShanah (Jewish New Year). The Jewish year becoming 5784 is supposed to reflect the number of years since the Creation. It is customary to eat sweet foods like apples, honey, and chocolate, and to give such gifts for a sweet new year. We eat apples with honey, and the reason honey is used (and not some other sweet substance) is its association with the manna-described in the Old Testament as being “like honey wafers” provided by God during the 40 years that the Israelites wandered the desert on their way to the Promised Land. It is supposed to remind Jews that any sustenance or material benefits that come their way are solely dependent upon God’s grace.
Rosh HaShanah is also known as the Feast of Trumpets. At the beginning of the agricultural year, blowing the trumpet (Shofar) is an expectant prayer to God that marks the passing of one season and the anticipation of a new one.
Every year our church, here in Ashkelon, gathers to celebrate Rosh-HaShanah and praise the Lord for His grace and mercy that He gives us as we travel through this life to our Heavenly Home to be with Jesus! . . . to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 1:25.
This year we invited about 10 to 15 children who have cancer, they came from a hospital that is located not too far from our church. Those are unbelieving Russian-speaking families that came from Russia and Kazakhstan to get their treatment here in Israel. The youngest child was two years old, and the oldest about 12 years old. We had a program for the children ( “Sunday school”), service for their parents, and fellowship with food afterwards. They enjoyed it, they were happy to spend some time outside the hospital walls. At the very end, the church gave the children some gifts and prayed over them.”