Scripture: Exodus 12:1-11
Key verse: (2) “This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.”
Scripture: We are a few weeks into the first month of 2021, what have these weeks been like for you? It seems as though these last few weeks have been years in themselves, full of historic events on a national level. And on a local level, I continue to hear of church members who are affected by the pandemic, turning their lives upside down. Whether in the past few weeks, or during another time in your life, I imagine there have been events that you remember where you were when they happened, events that have marked time for you, events that have changed your life. Often times these events gather you closer to those most important to you, and sometimes these events call you to take a stand and make your values known.
In our passage for today we find the Israelites at the end of a long saga with the Egyptians which began centuries before as Joseph came to Egypt sold into slavery by his brothers. It was those brothers who then later came to Egypt and found assistance from Joseph who rose to prominence in Pharaoh’s court. As Genesis ends all of Jacob’s family is safely in Egypt, settling into the land. And yet, as Exodus begins the Israelites are enslaved, being persecuted and terrorized by the Pharaoh who was fixed on killing all the newborn boys of the Israelites. God hears the Israelites cries, sends Moses to stand before Pharaoh, and promises to free the Israelites. Leading up to our passage for today God sends ten plagues, each one more intense than the last. By the time of the tenth plague Pharaoh concedes and is ready to let the Israelites go free. This is a turning point. After days of plagues that I’m sure felt like years, the day of freedom has come, a marker that will define the Israelites for all of time, the Passover.
This day of new beginnings, this marker of time for the Israelites gathered the community together and called them to publicly show a sign of their faith. Even though the Israelites were promised freedom by God, this stepping out into faith was still a big step, enslavement was familiar and freedom was foreign. Joined together by a shared meal and marked by the sign of blood of the lamb, the Israelites began their journey from a people enslaved to a people set free.
Here we are, two thousand years after the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and thousands of years since the first Passover. As Christians we are people of a shared meal and marked by Christ’s blood, set free from the enslavement of sin. These markers placed upon us are permanent, and yet we often forget to fully live into their promise. Take a moment today, remember that you are marked by Christ, sealed by his love, and called to a life of freedom. As we reflect upon the markers of this freedom, however, may we remember that we are free not to ourselves or our own desires, free not to harm but to help, free so we may serve, free so we may be a blessing to others, free to be claimed by Christ in faith, hope, and love.
Prayer: Loving God, guide us in your ways, lead us in your love. Open our lives to your calling in our midst, that we may mark our lives as committed to you. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].