Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Lectionary Always "Passes over" the Previous Plagues of Egypt

My first experience with a Seder or Passover meal was when I was living at the Wesley Foundation at OSU.  I was one of the two live-in janitors for my final two years in Stillwater. Admittedly, I was probably better at hospitality than cleaning!  Of course, the Passover is the time when Jewish people remember their Exodus from Egypt.

The Jewish Student Association regularly met at our building since they didn't have one near campus and they asked to hold their Seder meal.  We were happy to let them do this and they invited any others active at the Wesley Foundation to participate.

To keep all the food preparation kosher in accordance with the dietary laws of the Hebrew scriptures, they came in ahead of time and gave the kitchen a real scouring.  I was certainly glad to let them do this and wondered if we might have them host kosher meals every month!

As we celebrated the Passover, I noticed that the foods we ate all had symbolic meaning related to the story.  It was a way of remembering their history and gave impact to the way the story was told.

There was a lot of wine consumed at the Passover.  For Protestants that come out of the temperance movement, this can be a little eye-opening at first.  But no one got out of hand and it allowed for the evening to lengthen without dragging too much.  It allowed laughter to come to a serious ritual without taking away from it.

For Christians, we have moved the Passover ritual into a different kind of story-telling.  We celebrate the Lord's Supper as  we remember that Jesus instituted this during the Passover meal.  The bread and the wine (grape juice for us) take on different symbolism as we understand them to be the body and the blood of Christ in a spiritual manner.

This week, the lectionary turns to the Passover in Exodus 12:1-14.  Leading up to this final plague were many other plagues that the lectionary never touches on.  Maybe the plagues are seen as too difficult for Christians who are called to love their neighbors to incorporate into their faith.  But if we can handle the death of the firstborn, I think a few flies and frogs won't hurt us!
Martin, John - The Seventh Plague - 1823.jpg
"Martin, John - The Seventh Plague - 1823" by John Martin - http://www.artmagick.com/images/content/martin/hi/martin14.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This Sunday, I'll be examining the plagues and what they mean for the story-telling of a people who were freed from slavery.  If you are in the Edmond area, you are welcome to join us for worship!

In Christ,


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