- Talmud (Megillah 10b)
Mark this month as the first month of all months for you—the first month of your year. Declare this message to the entire community of Israel: “When the tenth day of this month arrives, every family is to select a lamb, one for each household. If there aren’t enough people in the family to eat an entire lamb, then they should share a lamb with their nearest neighbor according to how many people are in the neighbor’s family. Divide the portions of the lamb so that each person has enough to eat. Choose a one-year-old male that is intact and free of blemishes; you can take it from the sheep or the goats. Keep this chosen lamb safe until the fourteenth day of the month, then the entire community of Israel will slaughter their lambs together at twilight. They are to take some of its blood and smear it across the top and down the two sides of the doorframe of the houses where they plan to eat. That night, have them roast the lamb over a fire and feast on it along with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. Do not eat any meat raw or boil it in water; only eat the meat after the entire animal has been roasted over a fire with its head, legs, and intestines attached. Eat whatever you can, but don’t leave any of it until morning; whatever is left over in the morning burn in the fire. Here is how I want you to eat this meal: Be sure you are dressed and ready to go at a moment’s notice—with sandals on your feet and a walking stick in your hand. Eat quickly because this is My Passover. I am going to pass through the land of Egypt during the night and put to death all their firstborn children and animals. I will also execute My judgments against all the gods of the Egyptians, for I am the Eternal One! The blood on the doorframes of your houses will be a sign of where you are. When I pass by and see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague will not afflict you when I strike the land of Egypt with death.
- Exodus 12.1-13 (The Voice)
For some time in our worship, we have reflected on the story of salvation; that grand story that finds its origin deep in Jewish history, and its conclusion in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. We have reflected on the creation of all things, the covenant with Abraham, and the story of Moses. Tomorrow we will reflect on a seminal ‘scene’ in the story of salvation; Passover. Passover provides us a glimpse of symbols that are so very important for our Christian understanding of salvation. Think about it; Passover focuses on the relationship between a sacrificial lamb, and liberation; it also focuses on the way of salvation through the story; a way that leads from slavery to the promised land.
Tomorrow we will of course reflect on the familiar aspects of the story, but we will reflect on an often overlooked aspect that you may find surprising. I hope you will join us for worship Sunday morning at 8:30 or 10:30.