Beginning a New DayMarch 31, 2020 - 12:00 am
“The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean.” — Leviticus 6:10-11
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. This week, our Torah portion is Tzav, which means “command,” from Leviticus 6:1–8:36, and the Haftorah is from Jeremiah 7:21–8:3; 9:22–23.
Every day is a new day – a chance to start fresh and new. Yet, so often we drag many “yesterdays” into the one day we are given — today. We can weigh down our spirit by bringing past problems into the present, missing the blessings and opportunities before us right now.
I actually learned the lesson of how to let go of the past from my children! When my daughter was three, she threw a tantrum because I told her she couldn’t have any candy. Yet, moments after she finished crying on the floor, she climbed back in my lap and we were able to enjoy a good snuggle as if nothing ever happened.
Another time, my son and daughter were fighting bitterly over a new toy I had bought for them to share. They called each other names and made each other cry, but just moments after we worked out a solution, they were best friends again. In both cases, my kids had completely forgotten the “trauma” of one day before they moved on to the next. They left the past where it belongs — in the past.
In this week’s Torah reading, we learn about the daily service of the priests. Every morning began with removing the leftovers of the burnt offerings that had been left burning on the altar all night long. The first order of service was to clear away the ashes of yesterday, making room for the new day. In doing so, the priest symbolized that yesterday’s sins were burnt up, any trace of them removed and forgotten.
Similarly, we also need to start each day by removing the remnants of yesterday that no longer serve us. Yesterday may have been a bad day. Maybe we lost our temper, maybe someone else lashed out at us. But, today, that is all in the past. Today is a new day, with new possibilities. It’s time to let go of what holds us back and move forward into our God-given destiny.
What are carrying with you today that belongs in past? Let go of your grasp and give it up to God in prayer right now.