A reflection on Exodus 12:1-15 by our Assistant Program Director, Angie Smith.
Now that we have finished reading Matthew, we are going to wrap the week up with daily reflections from the daily lectionary and appointed readings for the holy days.
First a little historical background on the text. In our text today we can see the tradition that would become Passover beginning to be codified, it would take generations before the tradition would become what Jesus celebrated with the disciples, and even more generations before it became what it is today.
Religion doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it’s through tradition and story telling that we find ourselves with the Maundy Thursday tradition of foot washing. It’s also how we find ourselves with all our other traditions. Verse 14 of our reading tells us that Passover should be “a day of remembrance” and for Jews around the world it is. It’s a day where they remember what God has done for them.
Memory is so important in keeping religious communities alive. Not in the sense of “We’ve always done it this way” but because memory reminds us why we gather in community. This year we aren’t gathering in person for Maundy Thursday, but that doesn’t prevent us from gathering as the church on earth.
When we gather to celebrate communion, we take the time in the liturgy to remember our story. We remember what God has done for us and we give thanks for it. Yes, service would be shorter if we removed the repetitive parts of the liturgy, but what would we have left? Some readings, some hymns, and bread and wine. We wouldn’t have sacrifice, we wouldn’t have thanksgiving, we wouldn’t remember our story, and we wouldn’t hear the words “for you.” The repetition reminds us of who we are and to whom we belong. It comforts us in times of sorrow and helps us to celebrate in times of joy. It connects us, the church on earth with the church in heaven. We tell our story week after week because it’s what we have always done and will continue to do for generations. Amen.