Posted by: Postordinandy | April 3, 2010

Taking the past into the future

We have started to eat together monthly as a church community. There is something about sharing food at a table that relaxes most people, and allows conversation to flow a little more freely. Our mealtimes have usually been pretty informal affairs: we have continued our theological reflection around the table, sharing our reflections, insights, experiences and stories alongside the food and wine.

Our most recent meal was a more formal affair. We shared a Haggadah, or Passover meal. One of our member is a Messianic Jew, and he took us through a (slightly abridged) version of the meal/event that has taken place every year in some form or another since the Israelites first became aware of God’s great escape plan back in Moses’ day.

The passover is an incredibly important part of the Jewish calendar, one that Jesus would have been intimately acquainted with. Every Jew was reminded of Gods’ faithfulness to them through the ages: his intervention on their behalf by freeing them from the cruel oppression of the Egyptians; his provision of food in the form of manna in the desert; his continued presence with them as they journeyed through the desert towards the promised land…

The telling and re-telling of the history of the Israelite nation – expressed through formal ritual, sensory experience, and scripted narrative – is a great opportunity to reflect on God’s action in the life of your own community, family and personal life.

Of course, one of the other reasons it is helpful for Christians to experience something of the passover is that it was this same meal that Jesus had led his disciples through on his final night with them before the events of the original Easter weekend.

It is no coincidence that Jesus helped his followers to prepare for the future by looking to the past. The events of that first Easter were echoes of the great act of delivery – this time it was not a single nation that was set free, but all people.

One of the key differences between a Haggadah and a Passover is the reminder to Christians that Jesus offered himself as the Pascal lamb – a sacrifice good and pleasing to His Father, sufficient for all time, and on behalf of all who call on His name.

Happy Easter from St Luke’s.

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