The Story for the
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sept 6, 2020
prepared by the Rev’d Rhonda Waters
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.
Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.
This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.
Something to Do
The story of God’s liberation of Israel reveals a truth about God that Jesus constantly tried to teach: God stands with the weak and oppressed and will set them free. What if this does not only apply to oppressed people but to all of creation, currently bound by unjust and unsustainable human practices?
Join Kairos’ 30 Days of Action for Climate Justice and join in God’s liberating work.
This is how you shall eat it
I’m not going to suggest you actually eat a meal standing up with your coat on and your bag packed as I don’t want to make light of what is happening in this story. People are preparing to escape a dangerous place, waiting for the sign that it is time to run. Their meal is hurried and anxious and they are scared.
This is not just a story for millions of people. If you have the good fortune to live in safety, how might you help those who do not? Money, political pressure, prayer, time – all are needed to protect refugees, people living with domestic violence, political prisoners, and others.
Something to Wonder
No plague shall strike you
This foundational story of God as the faithful deliverer of Israel includes God as the vengeful punisher of Egypt. How does that make you feel?
Does the one require the other? Why or why not?
Where are you in this story?
We tend the read the Bible by positioning ourselves with the Israelites in the Old Testament or with Jesus and the disciples in the Gospels. In what ways are you, like the Israelites, in need of liberation?
It is also wise to consider how we might be aligned with the other people in the stories. In what ways are you aligned with Egypt?
Something to Learn
This month shall mark for you the beginning of months
According to Jewish teaching, this is the first mitzvoh (religious obligation or commandment) given by God to Israel. Read more about Jewish understandings of the calendar and the practice of Kiddush Levana, the Sanctification of the New Moon.
Sanctifying Time by Tali Loewenthal
“The task of the Jewish people is to sanctify and transform existence, making it into a realm for the indwelling of the Divine”
A Matter of Time by Rabbi Naftali Reich
“Why this particular mitzvah? Would it not have been more appropriate perhaps to initiate the Jewish people with a mitzvah that represents transcendent spiritual concepts?”
Make Your Days Count by Rabbi Yisroel Ciner
“We count the days of the week to remember the Sabbath. The creation. We count the months to remember the exodus. The re-creation. “
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.