"And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’Then the people bowed down and worshiped."
Last night was the start of Passover, the tradition established by God for his people so they would always remember his starring role as a rescuer.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the story (you can read the text here), God went to incredible lengths to save the Jews who were enslaved by Egypt. In an unusual casting move, God used a murderer who was afraid of public speaking (Moses) to confront the king of Egypt (Pharaoh).
The dramatic story describes how ten plagues descend on the Egyptians but “pass over” the Jews. The plagues are mind-boggling: water turns to blood; there's an infestation of frogs, then lice, then flies, dead animals, boils, hail storm, locusts, darkness. and, ultimately, an “Angel of Death” who kills all of the first-born sons.
But God, the rescuer, keeps his promise and delivers his people from slavery to freedom.
You should read the Bible for the plot twists alone, even if you don't believe it to be "inspired."
While I’m not attending a Seder this year, I love that this meal is focused on all God has done for his people. I relish seeing my friends passing along meaningful traditions to their children. The meal repeatedly tells the story of deliverance and reminds kids that God is FOR them, and he will attend to their needs. God wants us to live free lives where we can recognize his grace.
This fact isn’t always easy to believe because God doesn’t operate the way WE think he should; his ways are far bigger than we can imagine and don't resemble the way we work and behave.
I know the Haggadah prescribes the response to the "Four Questions" (which is really one question and four answers!), "Why is this night different from all other nights?"
But if I could add a fifth, I’d say tonight’s the night we teach our children to recognize God and to worship!
An awesome celebration indeed!