“This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand”. (Exodus 13:2)
One of my fondest childhood memories is our family’s Sunday lunch and I don’t mean simply eating the roast chicken, beef or lamb! It was the activities, sights and sounds that culminated in sitting down together around the dining table that made Sunday such a special memory. I recall being dispatched to go and collect the vegetables from the garden. The smell of freshly turned soil as I lifted new potatoes, the sweet and fragrant smell of carrot leaves as you pulled them from the ground and picking fat pea pods from Dad’s vegetable garden was sensational. Catching the wonderful waft of roasting meat as I returned to the kitchen made me salivate! Helping prepare the veg and lay the table while we all listened to the radio, somehow seemed very special. Even now, fifty years on, the smell of fresh carrots transports me back to the days of my childhood Sunday lunches.
Well – guess our subject for Sunday! Yes you’ve got it – remembering! On Sunday we will look at the Lord’s command to Israel to ‘remember’. They had to remember that they were once overpowered by the darkness of Egypt’s social and economic system. A powerful, crushing regime that resulted in their exploitation. Pharaoh’s insatiable appetite for more and more resulted in the enslavement of God’s people and was ultimately aimed at their destruction. The good news is that God heard their cry, He saw their plight, decided to save them and so sent them a deliverer in the form of Moses. The command was that they must not forget the liberating love that saved them. So critical was this remembering that God set up a festival to do two things, firstly to remember their plight and secondly, to celebrate the one who had delivered them from darkness. ‘The Passover Festival’ became the means by which God would write in the hearts and minds of successive generations a memory that it was by ‘the power of His mighty hand’ (Exodus 13:3) that He had saved them. It is significant that He chose a family meal as the means by which this memory would be transmitted. This was more than storytelling – though words were essential – the festival included touch, sight, sound, taste and smell. All five senses were to be engaged in order to plant this memory in the hearts and minds of a future generation. Ring any bells? In Luke’s gospel he describes how Jesus prepares a Passover table and how He takes this festival and shows His disciples that, in truth, He is Passover Lamb and that the mighty hand of God is manifest in Christ. Jesus is our Exodus.
See you Sunday.