From the day after the day of rest -- that is, from the day you bring the sheaf waving --
you are to count seven full weeks, until the day after the seventh week;
you are to count fifty days...
The counting began last Sunday, the same day that celebrates Firstfruits and the resurrection of Yeshua!
Why did G-d ask His people to count 50 days after Firstfruits (this first fruits is synonymous with resurrection day!)? Well, up until the time of Yeshua, the Jewish people were celebrating the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. This holiday is called Shavuot or Pentecost and was celebrated by the followers of Yeshua in the first century as recorded in the book of Acts:
The festival of Shavu'ot arrived, and the believers all gathered together in one place. Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting... They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak" (Acts 2:1-4).
It is during this time of counting that Yeshua walked on the Earth in His resurrected body for 40 days. Shavuot is the celebration of the giving of G-d's holy law (Exodus 20) and His promise to write it on our hearts through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, according to the New Covenant text found in Jeremiah 31. This unique day brings together the promises of G-d to lead us with His word and His Spirit.
In our home we count the omer in a way that incorporates the kids. As we gathered the other night to count, Cassidy said, "I like the omer. Wyatt always liked it, too." We have two glasses: one we fill with buckwheat (you can use other grain) and one that is empty. Every day after supper we say a blessing and a prayer and then Cassidy counts the day and takes a pinch of the wheat and puts it into the empty glass. She then takes money and puts it into the tzedakah box ("tzedakah" being the Hebrew word for righteous). At the end of the counting we take the money and donate it to a Messianic Jewish organization. Watching the glass fill up reminds us that we should be filled with anticipation for His hand to move mightily.
Personally we are using this prayer guide from the UMJC, the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. It lays out the weeks with the blessing for the omer as well as scripture and prayers according to weekly topics.
Seeing how the L-rd timed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the giving of the law fills us with excitement for what lies ahead. When we align ourselves with His heart we can see Him move in magnificent ways; let's join together for the sake of His Kingdom.