Friday, April 6, 2012

Seder Meal

I was blessed to participate in my first Seder Meal last night at Edgewater.  This is the traditional meal that Jews would have at the time of the Passover . . . each year remembering what God had done in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt and anticipating the rescue from the long awaited Messiah.

I helped serve the meal so I feel like I didn't get to soak in the richness of the symbolism like I would have liked, but there were a few things that really stuck out to me.

First, bitter herbs are bitter.  Earth-shattering news, I know.  I dipped that parsley into the red wine vinegar, tossed it in, and immediately started coughing . . . a sight to see I'm sure.  At least I wasn't alone.  The whole room was choking and, like me, probably trying to chew and swallow asap.

But what a vivid reminder of the bitterness of the slavery under Egypt.  I can read over that part of Exodus so quickly, barely pausing to contemplate a life of complete and cruel oppression.  They probably quickly forgot as well . . . hence the bitter herbs.  Our God knows that a horrible past can too soon be replaced in our memory by a rosy picture that is completely false.

Never forget, He whispers.

How often do I forget the pit from which I came?  How often to I paint a rosy picture in my mind of the old self?

Eat the bitter herbs, my daughter.  Remember that you were oppressed by sin, a slave to death, with no hope of ever changing your condition on your own.

Remember what I did.  I rescued you just like I rescued my people Israel.  I sent my Son to the cross to obtain your rescue.  You didn't deserve it.  You didn't earn it.  It was a gift of My grace. 

"Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be . . ."

We flowed into a part of the meal where the leader recited the story of God's rescue and the rest of us sang a little one word song . . . Dayenu.  This Hebrew word means, "We would have been content."  So basically it went something like this . . .

If you have rescued us from Egypt, but not executed judgment on their gods.
We would have been content.
If you had executed judgment on their gods, but not had them give us all their stuff as we left.
We would have been content.
If you had parted the Red Sea, but not brought us through on dry land.
We would have been content.
If you had brought us through the Red Sea, but not provided for us in the wilderness.
We would have been content.

And so on . . .

What is interesting is that obviously God did do all these things and even more and the Israelites were actually almost never content.  I would think they would be saying, "We should have been content" but who am I to argue.

Even so, this part of the meal highlighted God's grace at each step for the Israelites.  He didn't owe them anything.  Every intervention, every provision, every miracle was completely a show of His grace.

Dr. Cole, who was leading our service, made a statement during this part that captured my attention.

God had a claim to their thankfulness.  

Wow.  Any thankfulness in the hearts of the Hebrews was due only to the One who had rescued them, provided for them, cared for them, loved them despite their tendencies toward idolatry and ungrateful hearts.

God has that same claim to my thankfulness.  And yours.  His grace abounded in the Cross.  His grace was exalted in the Resurrection.  His grace is proclaimed each time the Gospel is shared.

And His grace is declared each time we offer a heart of gratitude and words of thanksgiving for what He has done.

I'm off to study about the Gospel and Suffering at the Secret Church simulcast for 6 hours . . . can't wait!  We're also praying for the Horn of Africa, which includes Ethiopia where my sweet Easton's birth family is right now.  Looking forward to a special night of worship, reflection on the Cross, and prayer for persecuted brothers and sisters across the world.  May the grace of God be lifted high!

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