A professor of mine liked to tell the story of his first blind date. He said as they left the house the mother said to her daughter, “Now remember who you are.” That is good advice. The memory of who we are can shape our actions and relationships. In our lesson from Exodus, the Lord tells Israel to “observe . . . a perpetual ordinance” to remember God’s saving act in Passover. The life of the people of Israel has always been shaped by the degree to which they remember God’s continuing covenant of salvation with them. That memory also has shaped their relationships with other nations. Now their exile as slaves in Egypt is to end. The Lord is about to pass over their oppression and lead them into the Promised Land. The Passover meal will become central to Israel’s ritual life and thereby shape her actions and relationships.
The story of humanity is filled with oppressed people who have identified with Israel’s story of freedom from oppression. That can be observed in the spirituals of African Americans and in the central place of the Lord’s Supper in the worship life of many African American churches. Indeed as Christians, Communion has become our observance of “a perpetual ordinance.” We believe that Christ has become our Passover Lamb. We know that through Jesus, God has passed over us to free us from those powers that oppress and bind us. Like the Israelites, we have been set free to claim the covenant of love that comes to us as we remember our identity in Christ. So the issue for us remains: How do we remember our Passover? Does it shape our lives?
Lord, you have freed us from all that would enslave us. You have passed over our sin and set us free to be your children. Help us to remember who we are and whose we are. Remembering our Passover, may we praise you, serve you, and graciously care for our neighbors. Amen.
We move forward in the story of Moses to the climax in Egypt, the tenth plague. God tells the Israelites to prepare for the terrible night to come and establishes the feast of Passover. It is to be an eternal reminder of what God has done for the people. The psalmist praises God for faithfulness and victory, including overthrowing those who would oppress them. Egypt is not mentioned specifically, yet the Passover represents just such a situation. Paul echoes Jesus in summarizing much of the Law in one simple commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus provides practical teaching on handling disagreements. Our first responsibility is to go to the other party privately and then include others only as necessary. Gossip and social media are not the ways to handle our disputes.
Read Exodus 12:1-14. How has the story of Passover shaped your faith?
Read Psalm 149. How has God called you to seek freedom from oppression for yourself or others through praise and through action?
Read Romans 13:8-14. What does it mean to consider love a driving force rather than a warm feeling? How does this understanding change the way you act toward yourself and your neighbors?
Read Matthew 18:15-20. When have you participated in or witnessed true reconciliation? How did you see compassion at work?
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