Texts: Exodus 12:1-14; John 13:1-17, 31-35
Although none of us would choose it, I think that this strange and novel observance of this meal is a blessing for us. Unlike our Jewish kin, we have been fortunate. Although we have all experienced trials and hardships, no one has ever turned on our whole people and tried to wipe us out. We have never been on the receiving end of true slavery or genocide, with no one to help us but the LORD. The Jewish people have known what it means to depend utterly on God for the survival of their people and their way of life. Some of those scars are fresher than others.
But now, we, too, will have some idea what it means to wait for the Angel of Death to pass over us. Some of us are more afraid than others, and some are staying home while others still venture out, taking risks that may or may not be necessary, but one thing is true for all of us: this pandemic has reminded each and every one of us how frail life truly is. There are many who are not and will not become sick, but who are still suffering the effects of this virus: loss of jobs and income, separation from loved ones, isolation, paranoia. And we all are left to wait in our homes until someone says it’s safe to come out again; we all wait for that exodus from our homes back into our offices and churches and schools and parks.
We tell this story of the Israelites in Egypt tonight not just because Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples was a Passover meal. We tell it not just because we share this common history with our Jewish siblings. It is significant that the events we remember and observe and celebrate tonight took place in the context of this Jewish observance of Passover. We tell this story because it is a part of the greater story that is still being written; a story in which God is still at work.