Thursday, September 24, 2020

Why ‘Exodus-and-Passover’?

        Let me say upfront I am not Jewish. I did some research into Passover, and even participated in a traditional Seder meal (wine and all), but I don’t have first hand knowledge. So if any of you are Jewish and feel I need corrected concerning Passover, correct away. I welcome all comments. 

Having said that, let me say this. It seems to me Passover is a remembrance (or celebration); Exodus is the event being remembered (or celebrated). Without the Exodus, Passover looses some significance, (and without resurrection the cross loses-and I don’t say this lightly-all it’s significance as well). While the Seder meal is filled with symbolism and meaning, it is the Exodus event that most concerns us here and to which we now turn. 

Exodus begins the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram to be a blessing to all nations. Israel leaves Egypt an extended family, more or less, and in the desert God ‘whips them into shape’, so to speak. Israel becomes a nation. A disciplined nation (nation of disciples?), instructed by the very Oracles of God. God’s words for God’s people. By living according to The Law Israel is guaranteed God’s blessing. Israel will bear God’s image and reflect God’s nature-the original vocation given at the dawn of creation. They will be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with God’s presence (more about this later). 

God’s chosen people, living as God intended all along, being an example-reflecting God’s nature-to the rest of the world; doesn’t get any better than this. God promises God’s new Nation-God’s special, chosen people-blessings beyond belief for their obedience (remember the promise to Abram?). This is the true purpose and promise of the Law, at this point in time-nothing here about going to heaven when one dies. Only bringing God’s presence to earth while one is alive. (Here is an interesting thought exercise-can God ever be separated from God’s Law? Are they one and the same, or no?)

God was indeed present with God’s new people. Actually, visibly present as the pillar of cloud by day and light by night (lots of symbolism to think about with that). Israel will overcome darkness and ruin by bringing God’s presence with them and God will lead the way. No longer slaves to an oppressive master, Israel is now free to serve their-and our-living, loving creator. Free to bring-indeed, to be-a blessing to the world. Their Exodus will be our Exodus. Their liberation will be our liberation. Their example will be for us to imitate. Except it didn’t quite work out that way. Israel, despite God’s best efforts, kept going back to Egypt. 

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