Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is risen (He is risen indeed!)

It's Easter Sunday (well, it was when I began to write this), and I don't think I've ever spent such valuable time learning at church. Pastor Kevin presented part II of the Passover story, even inviting congregants to participate in a re-enactment. Never before have I experienced such a practical and understandable presentation of the symbolism and realism of the Passover celebration, and its significance to my faith.

Exodus 12

The Passover
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb [
a] for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover. 12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. 14 "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD -a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat—that is all you may do. 17 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread." 21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. 24 "Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?' 27 then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.' " Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. 29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Jesus was/is my Passover lamb. I have been ransomed by the blood of this perfect lamb, who was sacrificed for the world and its every sin. Including my own. And this is the part I struggle with the most: that this is not just an ancient and wondrous story of redemption for the people of a far-off land I've yet to see. That the God who led this chosen people to the promised land, that the Lord of ALL CREATION chose me to know and love and serve Him all of my life. I often get so overwhelmed thinking of it that I need to distract myself with much pettier and trivial ideas. (I've always held the belief that our minds were not created to have the ability to comprehend the reasoning or strategy behind all this, God's work. If they were, "faith" would not need to exist. And I suppose, neither would God be God if He created equals. He created children to love Him as Abba Father, not to be dissected as the great scientist doing a risky lab experiment.)

If we are born only once, we will die two deaths. But to be born twice means only one death, and eternal life thereafter. It’s mind-blowing to think of, really.

The Dead Are Judged
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

How blessed am I to know His love and redemption? To be called by a Saviour who lived as a human on this earth for 33 years, each year participating in the symbolic act of the Passover sacrifice, knowing that one day, He would take the place of the young, perfect lamb His family so faithfully slaughtered for their sins, in remembrance of their deliverance. As Pastor Kevin asked, would Christ have winced, just a little, each year when His father first cut into the meat on their table? When he would have slit its throat at twilight, would Jesus's heart have fallen at the prospect of His future? Though He asked for His cup to be taken from Him, He knew His charge and He completed it selflessly. How can I thank Him enough?

1 comment:

  1. Where are you?? Too busy to update us ;)

    Hope you're doing well and enjoying the new job!
    Bless, S