This morning’s post comes from Theresa Ip Froehlich, reminding us of the fact that the Last Supper was in fact a celebration of the Jewish Passover feast. Theresa Ip Froehlich is an ordained minister, a professional life coach, writer, and conference speaker. She is a native of Hong Kong, wife to Hervey for 28 years, and mother of two grown children.
Passover – Loving The God Who Displaces People
During this week, Jews around the world are busy preparing for Seder, the Passover meal. Jewish housewives have been cleaning their homes with a holy zeal and almost compulsive care. Every bit of yeast, and even the grain products that are capable of becoming leavened, must be removed from the home. After all, the Passover is the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (Mt. 26:17-30)!
Christians relate to the Passover meal with a wide spectrum of attitudes – from full embrace to total ignorance. Those of us, like me, who have a large appetite for anything Jewish, tend to think of the Seder as a commemoration of God’s deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt, a land of oppression and suffering. The Lord commanded his people, “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:17)
However, we rarely think of the deliverer also as a displacer. The God who delivers his people out of Egypt, the symbol of bondage, is also the God who displaces his people. There is no entry into the Promised Land unless there is a departure from Egypt. There is no arrival in the land of milk and honey unless the Hebrews are willing to embark on the journey. There is no enjoyment of freedom unless there is also a detachment from sin.
This journey is a necessary one – one that separates us from the bondage of sin and one that takes us into the land of freedom. This journey is not only a journey through the geographic distance, but it is also an inner journey of transformation.
The description of the Hebrews’ journey between Egypt and the Promised Land spans many chapters of the Old Testament – their doubting of God, their rebellion, and their longing to return to Egypt as they misremembered the land of bondage as the land of blessing. Clearly, this journey is not a swift and smooth one.
As I attempt to make sense of the difficult transitions in my life during the last few years – the traumatic launch of our young adult children, the loss of dreams, the loss of a sense of identity, and the continuing search for authentic community – I discover that if I love God for delivering me from Egypt, I must also love God for displacing me from my familiar circumstances. There is no movement forward to the destination unless there is a departure from what is familiar.
As I anticipate the Seder celebration, I remember the Lord’s instructions: “This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.” (Exodus 12:11) This is a picture of readiness, willingness, alertness, and urgency. This is also a picture of trusting the God who displaces me is also capable of delivering me.