Thu 29 Mar 2012
Jo and I accepted an invitation from Connie and Rich Crites to go to a local church last Sunday evening to see a Russian Jew perform the Passover Seder.
What I found interesting was how the speaker gave the Passover a Christian interpretation. Not that it was in some way wrong. It was in the way he wove items together.
For example, he had a small, cute, Muppet-like lamb, which served as the Pascal lamb. He said the Jews were to take the lamb as God instructed, into their homes for four days before it was killed. He said the reason for this was to make the little lamb part of the family and loved (as a pet kw) by the children. That would make the slaughter of the lamb more significant. He would later tie this to the love of Jesus we should have for his sacrifice. However, while the lamb was to be taken in the house for four days, it was probably more about purification than loving. Also, it says if the house was too small for the lamb, a neighbor could share theirs. By the way, the lamb was to be a year old. (Ex. 12:5) A year old sheep isn’t all that cuddly. The term “lamb” probably meant it had to be born in that gestation year.
I was pleased that he did not say the lamb was a sin offering. He said it was to set them free. He said nothing about them being less sinful after the lamb was slain, or when they went out the next morning. He also jokingly said that Pharaoh was “baptized” in the sea when the waters came rushing back together. The Bible never says Pharaoh died, just his army. No big deal, it was just a funny.
I caught another difference between his presentation and the one I’d previously seen on film. He took three squares of matzo bread and said the bottom represented the people, the top was God, and than asked what the middle represented. In the film presentation, the leader, who was part of the Jews for Jesus, said no one knew why the middle piece was there. He later said Christian Jews saw it as Christ. The local speaker said the middle piece represented the priests, and then tied this to Christ being our high priest. Looking at the internet I found that the three pieces of matzo can represent any number of things, depending on what you want to make them symbolize. So, since the arraignment of the matzo is not clearly explained, nor in the Bible, its beginning and interpretation is pretty much left to interpretation.
All this seems to say that while symbols can be significant, they should not be taken too literally. We generally think of the Passover as the time when only Israelites escaped Egypt by putting the blood of the lamb on the doorpost. But in Exodus 12, after telling how many Israelites left Egypt, verse 38 says, “Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.” Who were these “other” people? Could they have been Egyptians who lost a firstborn and were therefore “converted”? If so, nothing is said about it.
We can tell the book of Exodus was not written chronologically, but in verse 43 and following, part of the regulations concerning Passover was that any foreigner or alien male who wanted to join in the Passover had to be circumcised just as the Israelite males were.
You may be wondering about the title of this article. Few people who describe the Passover note that “lamb” in 12:3 means lamb or goat. In verse 5 it says the year old can be a sheep or goat. While “the blood of the goat” may seem offensive, we might remember the “scapegoat” of Leviticus 16 that carried away the sins of Israel into the wilderness. Which, when you think about it, is also a symbol of what Jesus did. What is interesting is our aversion to goats. Can you imagine having a year old goat in the house for four days? And, dare we think how many Israelites were spared by putting goat blood instead of lamb’s blood on their doorposts? While we’re at it, were all those “other people” who went out with the Israelites, Egyptian friends that were given the blood of a goat or lamb so they too could be saved? Now that sounds like something Jesus would do.
All this should cause us to think about how we can become too literal.
CONCERNS: Mary Smith fell and broke her arm. She is now in Berkshire Nursing Care, room 10, in Vinton, where she is having therapy. After a week or so in the hospital, Wayne Phlegar is home and doing well. Susan is having back problems, but they hope to be at church soon. Jim Hunter will be starting cancer therapy. Erma Williams’ father, also, one of Erma’s good friends has lost her father who lived in WVa. Garrett Williams as asked for prayers for a fellow truck driver, Tony Smallwood, who was critically injured in a trucking accident last week. Donna Brutto, Jen McCready, Sam, who is recovering from an eye injury. Helen Nicklas, Jenni Cullum, Ron Matney, Alma Martin, Joni Beach’s mother, Tim Elder, the work of Health Talents and Bread for a Hungry World.
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 2-7
Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 66:1-20
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 9-14
Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38; 18:15-27
Saturday: Psalm 103: 1-22
Our thanks to Scott Blessing and Richard Crites for filling in while Keith was away. Not to put Scott on the spot, but someone said it was the best sermon they’d heard him preach. I (kw) got to hear Richard’s sermon and it was also very good. ALSO: You may be interested in knowing that after Dr. Wayne Morris spoke about the work of the Gideons in distributing Bibles, you gave $680.00 toward their work.
After working with the Ronald McDonald House, we discovered that they can redeem the pull tabs from aluminum cans. So if you drink from cans, save the tabs. We will have a container on the downstairs table to collect them.
After you’ve pulled the tabs from the cans, also save the can itself. AC Branch is saving them for a friend who can use them to, in some way, help a friend who is in prison. You can be sure it’s not to escape. Ask AC for the full details.
We welcome the new members of the steering committee. All of the people nominated received at least a 75% vote of confidence by the congregation. The new members are, in alchemical order: Del Bolin, Martha Foy, Susan Jordan and Wayne Phlegar. Our thanks to them for their willingness to serve.
EASTER EGG HUNT
The annual Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones will be next Sunday (Easter) on the area behind the annex. All little ones up to the third grade. Holly Wagner and her helpers will hide the eggs. If you will bring wrapped fun-sized candy, Skittles, M&M, or Fruit Snacks. See Holly today as to if she needs plastic eggs. Parents, be sure to bring your cameras. If the weather fails us another place will be selected.
The 18th is Super Sunday. Now that the weather is sunny and warmer there will not be the need for a fire in the fireplace, but there will still be wonderful food and fellowship. Make plans now to attend. It’s always a great day.